CHARLESTOWN, Nevis (NIA) — Nevisians can expect the long-awaited US$12million fisheries complex, a gift from the government and people of Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to be constructed in Bath Village.
Minister of agriculture and fisheries in the Nevis Island Administration Alexis Jeffers, broke the news on Monday when he was a guest on a new programme on local television.
According to Jeffers, the state-of-the-art facility, which will play a major role in the expansion of the fishing industry on Nevis, will be erected along a beach located between Conch Shell and VON Radio, a landing site used by fishers in the past and not on Prince William Street in Charlestown as previously planned by the former minister of agriculture.
“We do believe that the complex has a major role to play in the expansion of the fishing industry here on the island… In looking at the documents that have been sitting here for some time regarding the proposed location at Prince William Street, I was never aware that the Japanese had some serious concerns about that site until I was able to examine those documents. I realised that was first and foremost in their mind. The site at Prince William Street posed some challenges that could have affected the jetty and also the building in question,” he said.
Jeffers explained that a discovery had been made that could have negatively impacted the building if construction had been done on the Charlestown site.
“They [JICA] had some concern after they did some soil testing. There is a particular layer that they found, which they indicated was a thick layer of peat material and we know that peat is made up of decayed vegetation branches, leaves, that type of thing, that is mixed with the soil.
“Of course you don’t have as sturdy a soil as the soil you have over at Bath Village for example. We have not done any major testing there but obviously peat material is found close to swamp areas like the Boggs and that is why they have the difficulties there,” he said.
The minister noted that the administration had to be prudent and sensible about that development since it was meant to be for the long term. He explained that some studies had been conducted and the determination of the depth of the water there was ongoing at the request of the Japanese donor.
“We have done some studies over there in terms of the depth of the water – we have an individual working on that- which I would present to the Japanese, they asked us to present that and we are going to do that shortly over the next couple of days and I do believe, based on our presentation, that would be even more compelling when it’s all said and done that that is the appropriate location,” he said.
However, Jeffers noted that once the complex was constructed it would revive the area. He explained that the new facility would serve all the island’s fishers. It would also be used to expand cultural and social events offered by the ministry and department of agriculture.
“We are hoping to put a complex there and put it to good use for our fishermen, for the people of Nevis and for the island on a whole.
“What we are thinking is that once we would have established that complex there we can also call what we call a fish festival at some point during the year the same way we have our Open Day, the same way we have our Fruit Festival, the same way we have other activities in the ministry of agriculture or in the department of agriculture,” he said.