Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, speaking to the media at the start of the project to construct a new facility at Pile Bay in St. Michael today. (GP)

Fisher folk at the Pile Bay Fishing Facility in St. Michael will soon have a spanking new facility from which to operate.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, this morning broke ground during a site visit, signalling the start of the Barbados Port Inc.-funded project. It is among several fishing facilities earmarked for improvements by Government.

According to him, construction should be completed within the next six months, and would see persons operating from a bigger building with modern amenities.

“There are currently four stalls, and we’re going to have seven to allow seven vendors to operate from here. We’re going to add cold storage because there is none at the moment. It’s going to be a modern facility,” Minister Humphrey stated.

It will also feature indoor bathroom facilities for vendors. Outdoor public bathroom facilities will also be constructed and these will be easily accessible to persons with disabilities.

Repairs to the landing site will also be carried out; and a small slipway (a sloping track used to move boats into or out of the water) built to make it easier for fishermen and jet ski operators to haul their vessels.

The Maritime Affairs Minister also gave the assurance that the project would not interfere with the cultural aspects for which the area is known.

“There’s also going to be a gazebo that allows people to come here and socialise. Pile Bay has its own culture and therefore we do not wish to disturb the culture, but to do it in a newer facility but still capture the essence that Pile Bay is.” 

This morning’s proceedings also saw the keys to a temporary facility from which vendors will operate in the interim being handed over to caretaker Katrina Chapman.

“Fisheries, for the Government of Barbados, is very important. During the COVID-19 shutdown, we never closed fisheries. We allowed the fishermen to fish and the vendors to continue to ply their trade, and in that same mindset, that is why, even though we’re doing major repairs here, we felt it was important to allow vendors to continue to ply their trade,” Mr. Humphrey said.

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