St. George’s, November 24, 2011: Grenada is among four other Caribbean islands which could soon see a new inter-island ferry servicing its shores.

The subject was part of discussions over a coffee break meeting between representatives of the five countries concerned.   They were attending the recently concluded meeting of the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Guyana.

Grenada’s Trade Minister Hon. Joseph Gilbert, who was at the meeting said the proposed ferry would ply between Trinidad, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Barbados; and is promising to service all the islands in one day.

Minister Gilbert said the proposed travel itinerary of the ferry allows for over-night stay in Barbados before making the "island-hopping" return trip to Trinidad.

The Grenada Trade Minister said his Trinidad counterpart, Hon. Stephen Cadiz who updated the other islands’ representatives on the project was "very optimistic that the Trinidad-based ferry service could come on stream as early as the middle of next year".

"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.

The proposed ferry service would be privately-operated and on Grenada’s part would not require government's subsidy to ensure its viability and sustainability, as was the case with some earlier proposals coming out of Trinidad, said Mr Gilbert.

"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 said.

It is expected that the Grenada-Trinidad ferry journey will take just over two hours.   At the same time, the comparative price per trip is projected to be only a fraction of the cost of air travel between the two countries.

Mr. Gilbert noted that as part of the proposed plan for the efficient operation of the ferry service, Grenada and other participating islands would be expected to guarantee that certain logistical arrangements are in place to ensure minimum delay in the turn-around time in and out of port.

Several CARICOM Ministers and Senior Officials with responsibility for Trade attended the COTED meeting which was hosted at the Princess Hotel from Nov 14th to 18th. Grenada was represented by Minister Gilbert and Senior Trade Officer in the Ministry of Environment, Foreign Trade and Export Development, Kahlil Lewis-Smith.



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