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Better ferry plans turn into passenger woes – discounted airport to the rescue

 by Bennette Roach

Carib Surf Ferry

Carib Surf Ferry

“The ferry fits in right where it is now, at Geralds,” replied his H E Governor Davis at his postponed from November press conference, when the question, “Where does the airport fit in,”with all the explanations about the new ferry service and a new ferry regarding Montserrat’s access problems.

One doubts the sarcastic response would have come if the Governor recalled last years need for the airport and the expense and inconvenience the visitors to the island experienced when air charters had to be engaged to get passengers in and out of Montserrat in December and early January.

Nor would he have probably said that, if at that moment he was making the unconcerned remark, he knew there were already people in Antigua from the night before trying to get to Montserrat on the ferry. That was 10:00 a.m. Thursday, December 5, 2013. Those passengers with many more after that were due to arrive in Montserrat today, Friday, Dec. 13, on charter flights. (We promise more on that remark, with revisits to some earlier excoriations on the airport from the Governor and the Premier.)

Governor Adrian Davis and Dr. Kato Kimbugwe

Governor Adrian Davis and Dr. Kato Kimbugwe

DFID Dr. Cato Kimbugwe who sits in at the Governor’s press conference, supported the Governor on the new ferry plans, providing detailed information that the Carib Surf ferry replaced the Carib Queen, touting that to be a better ferry that was unavailable earlier because of “commitments they couldn’t drop”. He said they were also acquiring another ferry, mentioning also that this is to fit in while all the planning and approval was made for a ‘purpose built ferry for Montserrat’, which everyone thought had already been a done deal. This he said would take another 18 months with a gentleman, Bob Nox, already on island to gather information towards the design of the ferry. Following his happy news on improved transportation especially to facilitate the festival season, he confirmed this to the audience at Sujue’s Coffee morning gathering.

There, Kimbugwe said to applause, that DFID had agreed to, “increase the funding so that Montserrat can lease a much better ferry which is twin-hulled and can provide a better service and can do the journey between Antigua and Montserrat in just under an hour. In addition, we are also submitting a proposal in the New Year to build a purpose built ferry because it is very costly to lease a ferry,” noting, “if one looks at the cost of leasing a ferry for the past three years one would be in a better position to purchase a ferry.”

That was Tuesday this week, following his Dec 5 boastful explanation about the new ferry schedule, the new/different and faster ferry to come on stream. He continued the boast to the Coffee morning guests at Government House, when the similar airport question was again put to him and the MDC team. He must or should have known about the frantic negotiations that were going on to get the people from Wednesday, the week before, stranded in Antigua.

One woman lamented the cost of lodging for one night in Antigua at US$100.00 ($271.69). She spent several more than one night. A major complaint was the lack of good information to plan their wait while in Antigua, but ferry management in Antigua said, they passed on whatever information they had to the people who kept getting broken promises which they felt was just misinformation.

On Friday morning this week the situation, transferred to Montserrat’s outgoing passengers which included, young people on weekend tours, and sports teams, among other regular passengers. The ferry which had not been in service all week was announced, but then passengers from Thursday plus Friday, with the same problem would probably face similar Saturday had to be airlifted out instead.

Passengers are finally checked on board taxi to VC Bird airport

Passengers are finally checked on board taxi to VC Bird airport

 

Stranded passengers are Montserrat ferry dock in Antigua

Stranded passengers are Montserrat ferry dock in Antigua

Following announcements which changed back and forth the announcement then came, that there would be no service until Monday.

Some of the UK Montserrat bound passengers from who arrived earlier this week, all said, for once they were glad their flight was long-delayed in the UK sparing them some of the Antigua holdup expenses.

Informed sources provided information as to the problem. There were the new arrangements, some of which we heard from Dr. Kimbugwe and the Governor.

Montserrat ferry dock in Antigua

Montserrat ferry dock in Antigua

Sources said the ferry suddenly lost its propeller, which is to be replaced by a  source in St. Martin. The ferry is expected to be back in service this coming Monday. It appears from the information that a disgruntled Carib Queen management after the Carib Surf was engaged, would not help the situation because they said they could not break their scheduled commitments in Nevis.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

 by Bennette Roach

Carib Surf Ferry

Carib Surf Ferry

“The ferry fits in right where it is now, at Geralds,” replied his H E Governor Davis at his postponed from November press conference, when the question, “Where does the airport fit in,”with all the explanations about the new ferry service and a new ferry regarding Montserrat’s access problems.

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One doubts the sarcastic response would have come if the Governor recalled last years need for the airport and the expense and inconvenience the visitors to the island experienced when air charters had to be engaged to get passengers in and out of Montserrat in December and early January.

Nor would he have probably said that, if at that moment he was making the unconcerned remark, he knew there were already people in Antigua from the night before trying to get to Montserrat on the ferry. That was 10:00 a.m. Thursday, December 5, 2013. Those passengers with many more after that were due to arrive in Montserrat today, Friday, Dec. 13, on charter flights. (We promise more on that remark, with revisits to some earlier excoriations on the airport from the Governor and the Premier.)

Governor Adrian Davis and Dr. Kato Kimbugwe

Governor Adrian Davis and Dr. Kato Kimbugwe

DFID Dr. Cato Kimbugwe who sits in at the Governor’s press conference, supported the Governor on the new ferry plans, providing detailed information that the Carib Surf ferry replaced the Carib Queen, touting that to be a better ferry that was unavailable earlier because of “commitments they couldn’t drop”. He said they were also acquiring another ferry, mentioning also that this is to fit in while all the planning and approval was made for a ‘purpose built ferry for Montserrat’, which everyone thought had already been a done deal. This he said would take another 18 months with a gentleman, Bob Nox, already on island to gather information towards the design of the ferry. Following his happy news on improved transportation especially to facilitate the festival season, he confirmed this to the audience at Sujue’s Coffee morning gathering.

There, Kimbugwe said to applause, that DFID had agreed to, “increase the funding so that Montserrat can lease a much better ferry which is twin-hulled and can provide a better service and can do the journey between Antigua and Montserrat in just under an hour. In addition, we are also submitting a proposal in the New Year to build a purpose built ferry because it is very costly to lease a ferry,” noting, “if one looks at the cost of leasing a ferry for the past three years one would be in a better position to purchase a ferry.”

That was Tuesday this week, following his Dec 5 boastful explanation about the new ferry schedule, the new/different and faster ferry to come on stream. He continued the boast to the Coffee morning guests at Government House, when the similar airport question was again put to him and the MDC team. He must or should have known about the frantic negotiations that were going on to get the people from Wednesday, the week before, stranded in Antigua.

One woman lamented the cost of lodging for one night in Antigua at US$100.00 ($271.69). She spent several more than one night. A major complaint was the lack of good information to plan their wait while in Antigua, but ferry management in Antigua said, they passed on whatever information they had to the people who kept getting broken promises which they felt was just misinformation.

On Friday morning this week the situation, transferred to Montserrat’s outgoing passengers which included, young people on weekend tours, and sports teams, among other regular passengers. The ferry which had not been in service all week was announced, but then passengers from Thursday plus Friday, with the same problem would probably face similar Saturday had to be airlifted out instead.

Passengers are finally checked on board taxi to VC Bird airport

Passengers are finally checked on board taxi to VC Bird airport

 

Stranded passengers are Montserrat ferry dock in Antigua

Stranded passengers are Montserrat ferry dock in Antigua

Following announcements which changed back and forth the announcement then came, that there would be no service until Monday.

Some of the UK Montserrat bound passengers from who arrived earlier this week, all said, for once they were glad their flight was long-delayed in the UK sparing them some of the Antigua holdup expenses.

Informed sources provided information as to the problem. There were the new arrangements, some of which we heard from Dr. Kimbugwe and the Governor.

Montserrat ferry dock in Antigua

Montserrat ferry dock in Antigua

Sources said the ferry suddenly lost its propeller, which is to be replaced by a  source in St. Martin. The ferry is expected to be back in service this coming Monday. It appears from the information that a disgruntled Carib Queen management after the Carib Surf was engaged, would not help the situation because they said they could not break their scheduled commitments in Nevis.