CHARLESTOWN, St. Kitts & Nevis: An agreement has been signed between the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) and the Japanese government for a US$10-million grant. This will pave the way for construction of a new Charlestown Community Fisheries Complex at Gallows Bay.
The minister responsible for Agriculture and Fisheries on Nevis, Robelto Hector, said he was heartened by the generosity of the Japanese government and the cooperation of the federal government, which facilitated the funding.
He said the complex would be a demonstration of the NIA’s policy to improve the fisheries sector’s production and distribution system.
“Our fishery industry, as we are aware, is in dire need of a stimulus that would not only strengthen the sector but also sharpen the skills of our entrepreneurs so that they can be more competitive in the regional and global markets.
“This project will further solve some of the operational difficulties that currently hamper the sector. Following this signing and exchange of notes, we can thus begin to think of a sector with a stable supply of fresh fish, a sector that offers greater linkages to our tourism product and a sector that allows for the improvement in sale and distribution of marine products on Nevis,” he said.
Hector used the opportunity to commend his predecessors for contributing to the process but he also expressed discontent toward those stalling the project.
“Today I seek to pause to recognize the contribution of the former ministers of agriculture, Mr. [Malcolm] Guishard and Mr. [Livingston] Herbert. Sadly, there are many others who seek to rob our fishermen of this dream.
“The project commenced in their time but gave me and my ministry an opportunity to redefine and strengthen a project of this magnitude; a project that meets international standards and a project that raises hope for our local fishermen …”
The Agriculture and Fisheries minister added that the grant was not the first assistance given to Nevis and spoke of the productive relationship between the NIA and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA).
“We have had a history of cooperation and assistance in tourism, education, youth and social development. Our cooperation initiatives are captured under the Japan Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Agreement which provides assistance to member states. I want to express gratitude to you Ambassador for your country’s support in these areas of development…
“Mr. Ambassador, as a country, as a Federation, St. Kitts & Nevis continues to be a very dedicated friend of the government and people of Japan. Let us continue our pledge for greater cooperation and development between both countries,” he said.