Ferry 'better for importing goods'

by TRACY MOORE

A FERRY SERVICE being mooted for the Eastern Caribbean could be better utilised transporting much needed and cheaper produce rather than people, says leading businessman Ralph "Bizzy" Williams, of Williams Industries Inc.

Speaking to the Press yesterday on the second day of the Invest St Vincent and the Grenadines seminar and luncheon at Hilton Barbados, Needham's Point, St Michael, Williams said: "Right now, they are talking about this ferry service but I have been saying for a long time that a ferry service can only be successful if we have the infrastructure put in place to handle it."

"So, in other words, the ferry has to be able to come into Barbados, dock and offload and reload within half an hour.

"Now, if a Vincentian wants to come with a truck loaded with fresh produce to Barbados on this ferry, can he drive off here and go and deliver his produce to his various outlets in Barbados? No! That is the sort of infrastructure that needs to be put in place."

He was referring to a recent news report that a ferry service covering Barbados, St Vincent and Grenada would start from October 1 costing Barbadians US$120 from here to St Vincent and back, and US$140 to Grenada.

Williams said "red tape" already stifled the trade process, "so we want a situation set up, and the politicians need to put this in their vision, and get it done where we can produce a metal building in Barbados, put it on one of our trucks, ship it to St Vincent, deliver it to our customer there, load the truck with fresh produce, drive back onto a ferry, come to Barbados, drive off the truck and sell the produce.

"That way, you could see a trade developing, but not if you are going to have all of the red tape that is involved in that sort of transaction."
He also suggested the compilation of a list of all the agricultural producers from St Vincent to be presented to a marketing company here to market their products.

"Barbados is importing only two per cent of St Vincent's exports," Williams said, "while Trinidad is importing about 40 per cent or more.
So there is no reason why Barbados should not be importing a lot more."

tracymoore@ nationnews.com

Source: http://www.nationnews.com/news/business/use-the-ferry-for-better-use-cop...