Peter De Savry
The invocation of God's blessings by Roman Catholic Priest, Fr. Iraneous Vincent coupled with a symbolic gesture of breaking a bottle of champagne over the water bordering the Port Louis Marina marked the official opening of the US $500 million marina and Creole Village along the Lagoon Road in St. George's.
The function was attended by Governor General, Sir Daniel Williams, Marietta Mitchell, the wife of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, a number of Government Ministers, Opposition Member of Parliament, Glynnis Roberts, former Canadian Government Minister, Jean Augustine, tourism officials, business executives and visiting yachtees.
Port Louis Chairman, Peter de Savary who savoured stiff resistance about the project addressed the many ways in which Port Louis Marina will be of long term benefit to Grenada's overall development.
"This marina will grow. You are witnessing phase one, the first part. The risk, the difficulties that we encountered at the outset have been overcome and now it is a question of expanding the marina so that it can accommodate up to 300 yachts in total with all the facilities that yachts need today," he said.
de Savary stated that with the marina being in the heart of the capital where most activities are taking place in and around St. George's, it will be a huge economic driver for the economy.
"I decided that given the complexity of this project and the fact that only one person can accomplish so much at any time that my mission of Port Louis was to take the early risk, to take the risk that nobody before had been willing to take to try to clean up the whole site, to try to remove all the debris, all the environmental hazards in the Lagoon and try to then set a master plan and conceive of something that would truly be unique within the Caribbean," he said.
The Port Louis developer spoke of the marina being wonderful, having a village with lots of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs, banks and a few offices that will be opened to everyone.
Port Louis also encompasses a five-star resort hotel and a world class bar.
"I have taken a risk, but it needed a lot of courage. It has been hard work, there have been many moments when I wondered if we would actually get to this point," de Savary said.
Tourism Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen who spoke at the function underscored the importance of the de Savary project, noting that the opening of the marina will provide a very important avenue for the development of the tourism industry.
Modeste-Curwen indicated that with tourism being the single biggest economic earner in Grenada at the moment, that sector of the economy is extremely important to the people of Grenada in terms of jobs and other means of income, directly and indirectly.
"Therefore, we welcome every developer, every project that starts in the country, whether it is a developer who has come from outside of Grenada or whether it is a local, we welcome everyone," she said.
The tourism minister however, warned that developers are required "to come with solid financial backing."
Over the years, the Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government lost millions of dollars through loan guarantees from international banks to foreigners who failed to develop their projects.
Modeste-Curwen spoke of the need for Grenada to be able to attract a large number of tourists.
She said once there are reputable developers in Grenada who are "well connected internationally" they will be able, through their means and contact, to encourage tourists to come to the island.
"The more we have people like Mr. Peter de Savary who can market Grenada and make Grenada an internationally known household word, we will be seeing more and more visitors to our shores.
"We need persons with vision, we need persons with the drive and the enthusiasm who can make dreams into a reality, and Mr. de Savary and his team have done just that.
The senior government minister said her government looks forward to many more formal openings of various tourism projects on the island.
She promises that 2008 will be a year of implementation within the tourism industry in Grenada.