Tourism decentralised into rural areas for everyone to get their fair share of prosperity

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, July 16, 2020 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — The Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Administration has in more ways than one demonstrated that it is a people-centred government by ensuring that citizens and residents get their fair share of prosperity.

“Since we got into office, in February of 2015, my Cabinet colleagues and I felt it was a matter of priority to have the effects of the economy extend across all of society and all around the country,” said Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris on Wednesday July 15. “It was our belief – and it still is – that, in order for everyone to get their fair share of prosperity, it would be necessary to decentralise tourism into our rural areas.”

Prime Minister Harris made the remarks at the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony of the viewing decks at Black Rocks, Bellevue, in Constituency Number Seven, which he has represented in the National Assembly since 1993.

According to the Honourable Prime Minister, the decentralisation would facilitate the physical, economic, and social transformation and revitalisation of neighbourhoods, such as Bellevue, that have traditionally missed out on both the tourism dollar and the discretionally spending of citizens, residents and visitors via their consumption of recreation and entertainment.

“As early as 2016, the Ministry of Tourism and Whitegate entered into talks to bring much-needed improvement to Black Rocks, including the village of Bellevue,” said Dr Harris. “This would be part of the government’s overall strategy to raise the standard of the tourism sector and the standard of living of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

He added: “It was certainly an easy decision, I hope, to invest in Black Rocks, as it is one of our most beloved landmarks. For my part, I have had the pleasure of hosting – right here – the longstanding Annual Good Friday Kite-Flying Competition and Family Fun Day, in my capacity as Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Number Seven.”

The annual Easter festivities would start around 11:00 am, and by 2:00 pm there are hundreds of people gathered at Black Rocks to have a good time on Good Friday, the Prime Minister told the large audience. He noted that in addition to kite flying, cricket is played along with a domino tournament, as well as a tug-of-war and other games, while in recent times the list of activities has been expanded to include a fashion show and other attractions.

The colourful ceremony which was attended by Governor General’s Deputy His Excellency Michael Morton, Minister of Education the Hon Jonel Powell, Minister of Health the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett, Deputy Speaker Senator the Hon Dr Bernicia Nisbett, Financial Secretary Mrs Hilary Hazel, and Ambassador His Excellency Michael Powell, was chaired by Mrs Carlene Henry-Morton, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism.

Other remarks were delivered by the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Ports, the Hon Lindsay Grant, and CEO/Managing Director, Whitegate Development Corporation, Mr Ellis Hazel.

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Harris had said: “It is a proud moment for me, both as Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, and as the elected representative for the people of Ottley’s to Bellevue, to be here at this official dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly constructed viewing decks at Black Rocks.”

He explained that the multi-tiered, open air observation platform is a significant investment in the improvement of the Black Rocks visitor experience, as it enables tourists and locals alike to safely and comfortably view the dramatic jagged black cliffs that were formed by lava eruptions from the now dormant 3,792 feet Mt Liamuiga.

“Indeed, this stunning new amenity signals that Black Rocks is being taken seriously as a world-class landmark and one that has the potential to extend the benefits of tourism to this community and those in its vicinity,” observed Dr Harris. “These new viewing decks form part of a wide ranging rehabilitation project being built out under a joint partnership between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, and in particular the Ministry of Tourism, and the Whitegate Development Corporation.”

According to the Prime Minister, upgrades that have been and are being undertaken at Black Rocks include the construction of quaint and colourful vendor booths, allowing for ample retail opportunities and experiences; the installation of infrastructure such as roads and drainage, the general rehabilitation and landscaping of the grounds; the placement of signage and outdoor furniture, and the building of a barbecue pavilion with seating and dining areas, which will showcase the ‘art of barbecuing, St. Kitts-style’, as well as an outdoor equipment museum to display the history of the over 300-year sugar industry that ceased to operate some fifteen years ago.”

There are also wheelchair ramps at Black Rocks, which signify Team Unity Government’s thrust towards accessible tourism, the Honourable Prime Minister pointed out. He explained that when tourism is accessible it enables all people to participate in and enjoy tourism experiences, irrespective of their physical condition, their age, and other factors.

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