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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMBER 27th, 2017 (PRESS SEC) – The commissioning and handing over of the first five chattel house-styled vendor booths at the upgraded Black Rocks site in Belle Vue, St. Kitts took place today, Wednesday, December 27th, 2017. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis funded the multicoloured vendor booths to the tune of over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars as part of a wide-ranging rehabilitation project.

“Our journey to this moment began sometime last year when after a number of meetings it was agreed that there was an urgent need for intervention at Black Rocks, to raise the standard of the facility so that it would provide a much-improved vendor and visitor experience befitting one of the most popular, iconic and natural tourism attractions in St. Kitts,” Minister of Tourism the Honourable Lindsay Grant said, speaking at this morning’s event.

The Whitegate Development Corporation has committed over six hundred thousand dollars to upgrade Black Rocks. Upgrades include the landscaping of the grounds, the construction of roads and drainage systems, as well as the placement of signage and outdoor furniture.

The corporation is also funding the building of The Barbecue Pavilion, which is right now being constructed on the grounds along with seating and dining areas and will showcase “the art of barbecuing, St. Kitts-style.”

Its CEO/Managing Director, Mr. Ellis Hazel, said this morning that, “The Whitegate Development Corporation, in 2016, started a journey with the Ministry of Tourism to bring much-needed improvements to the Black Rocks area and, I must add, also including the village of Belle Vue…to further add to the tourism product on this part of the island.”

The project consists of two phases. Phase One entails the construction of booths and installation of infrastructure, mainly roads and drainage. Phase Two will include the rehabilitation of the pasture, the addition of retail spaces, as well as an outdoor equipment museum to display the history of the over three-hundred-year-old sugar industry that was shuttered a little more than a decade ago.

Mr. Hazel announced that, “The Whitegate Development Corporation, as part of our 2018 operational plan, has given a commitment to the Ministry of National Security to extend CCTV [closed-circuit television coverage] into some of the Whitegate communities, including Black Rocks.” He went on to note the importance of beefing up security, in light of “the increase of tourist arrivals to the rural parts of St. Kitts and to the island as a whole.”

The Whitegate CEO/Managing Director added, “We expect a bumper crop [of tourists] in the upcoming years with the construction of the second cruise ship pier, and from what I’ve been seeing this season, Mr. Minister and Mr. Prime Minister, we might need a third pier.”

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who is also the Member of Parliament for St. Christopher #7 (Belle Vue to Ottley’s), said this morning that, “The Government, through this and other initiatives and projects to come, is expanding the benefits of the tourism product to encompass the rural communities.”

Prime Minister Harris also said, “In this regard, we are doing so today by empowering five vendors,” while further stating that, “What we are doing today is to give them the support that they need so that the place from which they do business could be beautiful, enticing and encouraging to those who come here.”

Referring to the dramatic jagged black cliffs that were formed by eruptions of lava from the now-dormant 3,792-ft Mount Liamuiga, the Honourable Prime Minister added, “Here at Black Rocks…something more meaningful is now being created today, and we are doing this not just for visitors to St. Kitts and Nevis. We are doing this, too, to empower our people and to allow our people when they come here to savour the beauty in an environment that conforms well with all the iconic history and value” of the landmark.

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