Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 20, 2016 (SKNIS)—Residents of Belle Vue and the surrounding communities are upbeat about the ongoing new project at the historical Black Rocks that will bring about substantial upgrades at the touristic site; the project is being led by the White Gate Development Corporation with support from the Ministry of Tourism.

At a town hall meeting in Tabernacle on October 16, where the developments taking place at Black Rocks were addressed, constituents hailed the visionary leadership of Prime Minister and Parliamentary Representative for Constituency 7 (Belle Vue to Ottley’s), Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris. The upgrades at Black Rocks will bring socio-economic development to the area, including promoting sustainable livelihoods for the residents in the nearby communities and enhancing the tourism product thereby adding value to the tourist experience.

Resident of Belle Vue and member on the White Gate Development Corporation Board, Veron Lake, gave an update of developments at Black Rocks at the town hall meeting.

“As you would have seen over the last couple of months, there has been a significant amount of work being done at Black Rocks. You would have realized that the road has been repaved; you would have realized that drains have been constructed; you would have realized that there is now landscaping…this is part of a three phase development,” Mr. Lake said. “We recognize in White Gate it’s two phases, but in natural fact, it is three phases.”

Mr. Lake explained that prior to the recent developments taking place, Dr. Harris had initially worked with some bilateral international partners where he was able to establish a stage that is currently in use and to construct some of the huts on site that are used for vending.

He added that the second phase of the project has started with upgrades to roads, infrastructure and lighting.

“One of the things we want to do is to be able to upgrade the facility. We had thought at the time that it looked a little bit dilapidated and really bad. It (Black Rocks) had in excess of two to three thousand tourists (per tourist season) visiting the site and we thought that we needed to upgrade the site so that we present a better St. Kitts, a better Black Rocks to those people visiting,” said Mr. Lake.

“One of the reasons we thought that was important is not only do people take pictures of the site when they come to St. Kitts, but they also post them on Facebook. We want people to see the country for the beautiful country that it is and we thought that work needed to be done, so White Gate in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism would have undertaken that work,” Mr. Lake added.

Mr. Lake outlined that a third phase of the Black Rocks project will incorporate the development of St. Kitts’ heritage with the building of a museum that will showcase elements of the country’s past history of sugar; a bar and restaurant; and a food and vendors market.

“What the prime minister has done is that he has created two split levels of opportunity; for those of you who want to operate on the pasture, you can go ahead, there will be booths made available; and for those of you who want to operate more on the (railway) line, the Scenic Railway has made some provisions that they would be stopping in the area and giving people the opportunity to purchase and sell goods and that’s something that the prime minister thought that we should be able to do,” he said.

“We want to be able to display our strong sugar heritage. One of the things that we have seen is that over time, there is less and less sugar cane fields on the lowland—White Gate has said we are going to allocate half acre with sugar cane so that tourists can come and they can see what the sugar cane product is about. They would be able to sample it; they will be able to see how it is processed; and they would be able from the vendors that operate there to see products that are made from sugar,” said Mr. Lake, while noting the significant amount of work that has already been done and that the work is moving ahead on schedule to finish on time.

Several residents and constituents voiced several questions and suggestions at the meeting. These include adequate security for the area, the aesthetics of the immediate surroundings, proper restroom facilities, police patrols, and signage.

“We should all embrace what is happening here. We are very happy about what’s taking place,” Mr. Lake said.

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