ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Friday November 25, 2011 – The five countries that are slated to benefit directly from a Trinidad–based inter-island ferry service have moved a step closer to thrashing out the details of the proposed arrangement.
The matter was discussed just days ago by representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Barbados.
Grenadian Trade Minister Joseph Gilbert said his Trinidad counterpart Stephen Cadiz disclosed that project representatives were “very optimistic” the service could come on stream as early as the middle of next year.
It is anticipated that the ferry would service all the countries within one day. It would over-night in Barbados before making the “island-hopping” return trip to Trinidad.
“Request for Proposals” regarding the procurement of the specific type and design of the ferry required has already been issued by the investor”, Cadiz is reported as saying.
Minister Gilbert explained that the privately-operated service would not require subsidy from his government to ensure its viability and sustainability.
Instead, he said, Grenada and other participating states would be required to guarantee certain logistical arrangements to ensure minimum delay in the turn-around time in and out of port.
“The proposed ferry would have a capacity for about 300 passengers and would be able to carry “roll- on, roll-off” containerized cargo as well as motor vehicles”, he stated.
The Grenada-Trinidad ferry journey is expected to take just over two hours, and cost a fraction of the cost of air travel between the two countries.
The ferry service was approved in late September by the Trinidad and Tobago government.
It would be financed through a public/private arrangement, with the majority of capital coming from the private sector.