Access Coordinator David ‘Trixi’ Duberry has admitted that the lack of a ferry service has caused an economic downturn.
Speaking on The Breakfast Show with Basil Chambers, the coordinator said the process to evaluate the ferry tenders is ongoing and so the scheduled start of service this week was no longer possible.
“Because of the price of the contracts, we are doing extra due diligence,” Duberry said.
Four tenders are still under consideration to provide regular service to the island.
Several community activities have been thwarted by the lack of a regular ferry service and the uncertainty of when one will come on stream.
Dubbery said he was surprised to know that the Montserrat Football Association (MFA) has decided to cancel the planned summer camp in Guadeloupe for more than 60 players as they could not confirm a ferry service will be in operation.
He said he’d assured them that a ferry would be in placed before their scheduled departure on July 20. He told the radio host he believes one will be running by the end of June.
He encouraged community leaders to communicate with the Access Department about their travel plans for the coming months. Adding that he is aware of about groups totalling 1200 people who want to come to Montserrat in the holiday period. About 400 campers for SDA Pathfinders, cadets and other groups are said to be in need of the ferry service during the school vacation.
Basil Chamber’s 50th birthday bash reportedly has 600 people registered to come to Montserrat for the weekend of July 1 to celebrate with him. Chambers said if each only spent $200 that was $120,000 coming into the local economy.
Duberry said businesses are “crying out”. He referenced mechanics who want to bring in supplies regularly, lack of day tours for taxi drivers and restaurants who are affected. “Government is concerned and working very hard” to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
One local taxi driver said most people coming in by plane do not use their services. The weekly day trippers by sea enabled them to stay afloat.
Callers on The Breakfast Show expressed various views on the importance of the ferry service.