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Montserrat Port Development Project Contract Signing. Meridian Construction Company Representative, Richard Starkey and GoM’s Financial Secretary Lindorna Lambert signing the contract.

Port Project Expected to Begin in a Month, Contract Signed with Meridian Construction

Work is expected to begin within a month now that the Government of Montserrat has signed the design build contract with Meridian Construction Company Ltd.

The contract, which represents Phase 1 of the Montserrat Port Development Project was signed today in the conference room of the Ministry of Communications, Works Labour, and Energy in the presence of the Minister, Dr. Samuel Joseph; the Financial Secretary, Lindorna Lambert; Permanent Secretary Colin Fergus and the Manager of the Montserrat Port Authority Joseph O’Garro. Representing Meridian Construction Company was Director Richard Starkey.

Meridian, based in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI) was the successful bidder in a competitive tendering process for the design and construction of the Port Facility in Little Bay. The value of the contract awarded is ninety million, one hundred and eighty-eight thousand, nine hundred and twenty Eastern Caribbean dollars (XCD $90,188,920.00).

According to a government press release, it is anticipated that seabed drilling activities in Little Bay will commence within a month, while major construction work is expected to begin during the third quarter of this year; before September 30, 2022. The construction phase duration is estimated to be around 19 months.

The Scope of Works for the Montserrat Port Development Project includes constructing a combined offshore breakwater and pier structure consisting of a steel sheet pile wall and cylindrical steel piles, a ramp for roll-on / roll-off (ro-ro) cargo (23m wide) and a 75m of breakwater protection along the seaside of the Pier, with access to shore via a causeway. The berth will have a 130m long berth face and an apron width of 20m.

Montserrat’s Minister of Works, Dr. Samuel Joseph expressed his delight at this significant milestone. He said, “This is a major step towards providing a much-needed fit for purpose port facility for the people of Montserrat.” The minister expressed gratitude for the funding support from the United Kingdom Government under the UKCIF Programme and the European Union.

Minister Joseph acknowledged the efforts of the Caribbean Development Bank—the implementation agency for UKCIF investment, the various government ministries, and the Attorney General’s Chambers for their contributions towards making this achievement a reality.

He also recognised the hard work and commitment of the Ministry of Communications, Works, Labour and Energy, the Public Works Department, and the Port Project Management Unit in achieving this milestone.

Financial Secretary Lindorna Lambert said, “This is a long-awaited day for the future development of Montserrat. Improved access to our shores and markets by sea is a critical component of our economic growth, trade, access, and tourism strategies. In signing this contract today, we are not only firing the starting pistol on a long-awaited capital project, but we are making a bold statement about the future of Little Bay, and the future of Montserrat we hope to build together. I am pleased to welcome Meridian into this partnership with the Government of Montserrat. It is true to say that the real work begins now, and the Procurement and Programme Management Office teams within the Ministry of Finance, will continue to provide valuable support and assurance to this major investment.”

Richard Starkey of Meridian indicated that Meridian is delighted to have been selected and looks forward to designing and constructing the new port facility for the Government and people of Montserrat. The first steps, he said, will include drilling and geotechnical investigation of the seabed conditions which will start next month; with real presence on the ground ramping up in approximately three to four months’ time.

A formal ground-breaking ceremony is planned for June 2022. The exact date will be confirmed and announced later.

Meridian Construction Company Limited provides civil and marine engineering and construction services in the British Virgin Islands and in the Eastern Caribbean. Most recently, Meridian Construction was the Caribbean marine contractor engaged by the St. John’s Development Corporation Heritage Quay, Antigua to undertake the construction of the Heritage Quay Cruise Pier to accommodate the berthing of Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas on the northern side of the pier.

The Montserrat Port Development Project is being funded by the UK Government through a £14.4 million grant funding by the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), which is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The UK Government has further demonstrated its strong commitment to the Montserrat Port Development and has taken the decision to increase their support by an additional £13.9 million to a total of £28.3 million for the proposed port development at Little Bay.

The Government of Montserrat is providing £7 million in counterpart resources with financial support from the European Union under the EDF 11.

The implementing agencies from the Government of Montserrat are the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management and the Ministry of Communication, Works, Labour, and Energy.