MARIGOT--The Pinel Island ferry captains called off their close-to-a-week-long strike on Saturday, after coming to verbal agreements following meetings with the Collectivité, Préfecture and Maritime Affairs on Friday and Saturday.
Free trips to Pinel were offered to the public on Sunday, but due to the late hour of the strike being called off on Saturday, few people were able to take advantage of the offer, despite a radio announcement.
Details of the agreement were not yet known, but one of the ferry operators Emile Larmony told The Daily Herald a written agreement to be signed this week will stipulate that only the four captains presently operating the service between Cul-de-Sac Bay and Pinel will be allowed to continue as before.
Larmony said the fifth operator, who was given authorisation by Maritime Affairs, will have to find a different route.
“Maritime Affairs gave authorisation for this person to operate a ferry service to an island, but it was not specified at the time that it would be from Cul-de-Sac to Pinel Island,” explained Larmony. “I kept explaining that four boats are enough and already too many. This tourist activity was created over 50 years ago by family members in Cul-de-Sac. It should be in the agreement that the families have first priority to do this, because the economic activity since 1995 has continued to go down, not up.”
Larmony added that the other operator has the opportunity to start a service from somewhere else on the island.
“There are boats coming from Anguilla with people who want to go to Pinel on Sundays. That’s possible. Boats can take people to Pinel from the Dutch side. That’s also possible.
“Why can’t he take people to Pinel from Orient Beach, Grand Case, or Anse Marcel? What was so special about Cul-de-Sac that he would come here and nowhere else?”
More clarity on the agreement and the fate of the other operator is expected to emerge from a press conference today with President Aline Hanson and First Vice-President Guillaume Arnell.