The town pier located at Central Park had for years been used as a landing for the various barge companies on the island. However, not only was the view unsightly for locals and tourists alike but the noise associated with the freight industry was a constant complaint by many. Over time, efforts were made by the San Pedro Town Council to re-locate the barges to the marina constructed on the southwest side of the island. Barge companies used the marina only to find out that after the Government of Belize spent close to three million dollars developing the site it was still not suitable for use. Among the many reasons were the depth and width of the channel which would only allow one barge to move freely at a time and shallow water caused barges to break when they hit ground.
The body responsible for the marina is the Belize Port Authority who required major funding to alleviate the problems associated with the marina. The Authority has considered, in the past, to find a private investor willing to take on the responsibility of the marina. That is where Luke Espat comes in. In an interview with Espat, The San Pedro Sun discovered that the marina is under deals to change ownership from the Belize Port Authority’s hands over to Espat’s. “Yes, we have been in negotiations and we are simply waiting for the Commissioner of Ports’ ‘go ahead’ and verification of the Government’s commitment to proceed with the final paperwork.” This is expected to happen shortly, continued Espat.
Espat envisions many things for the future of San Pedro’s marina. Prior to the many changes is the dredging in order to deepen the channel. Other projects include the construction of a proper road from the marina to town, storage delivery in Belize City and a Free Zone office at the marina to facilitate custom transactions. With a Free Zone office on the island, companies will no longer need to transports their goods for inspection at the Belize port but rather transport them directly to the island. Plans also include warehouses at the marina and a fuel station.
Luke Espat owns majority shares in the Belize of Port Limited and is at the helm of constructing the biggest cruise terminal of Belize.
All calls placed to Port Commissioner Major Lloyd Jones were futile as he has been out of office since last week Monday.http://sanpedrosun.net/08-053.html