Newly sworn-in Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Arthur Leo Lambriex deserves credit for wasting no time in presenting plans for his first 100 days in office (see Monday paper). This sense of purpose under still relatively difficult and uncertain circumstances will no doubt be appreciated.
Widening the Simpson Bay Bridge channel again seems logical enough, especially little over a week since the control booth was hit by a mega-yacht for the second time in three years. However, that has been done before and there is very little room left.
He talked about vessels needing to “squeeze through the eye of a needle” and attracting even larger craft such as giga-yachts. Perhaps another extension is possible with minimal impact on the environment, surrounding businesses, etc., but – let’s face it – this obviously cannot continue endlessly.
Super-yachts keep increasing in size, as witnessed by the fact that one recently christened was unable to pass under a river bridge in the Netherlands, where many are built. After the last local mishap one reader made an ironic comment that maybe cruise ships should be allowed into the lagoon. Still, too-big boats in the future can always go to Great Bay.
The point is that there are limits to everything, just like with apron space at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) in the end-of-year holiday season. Some private plane owners will simply have to get used to coming during different, less busy times.
The intention to create a better tour bus drop-off point and promote downtown shopping certainly appears worthy. Ideal would be to combine this with a long-discussed seaside footpath directly from inside the cruise terminal to Philipsburg, instead of the current risky situation whereby thousands of passengers walk along Juancho Irausquin Boulevard while container trucks and other heavy vehicles drive back and forth to the cargo port at Pointe Blanche.
These comments are in no way meant to discourage the incoming minister, merely as a bit of food for thought.