Port Authority officials held several meetings for operational and internal matters to “make strides in the transformation of the authority,” Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe said during a board meeting Wednesday. He said these sessions included meeting with the Army Corp of Engineers and the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
This month Dowe traveled with Governor Albert Bryan Jr., Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Jean-Pierre L. Oriol, and West Indian Company Director Anthony Ottley, to Jacksonville, Florida, to speak with the officials of the Army Corp of Engineers and discuss dredging permits in the territory’s harbors. As a result, there will now be an agent from the Army Corps to serve as a direct person of contact between the agencies.
“Normally, what happens is this individual from the Army Corps has Puerto Rico to deal with, Alabama to deal with, and all these other places. So [we’re] kind of always at their mercy. But we will have somebody right now that’s overseeing all our projects that we can directly deal with,” said Dowe.
In addition, Dowe met with a consultant from American Infrastructure Development Inc. to discuss projects at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport. AID provides engineering services for public and private entities and specializes in aviation and surface transportation.
“We need to start looking at how we’re going to start, how we’re going to improve, through financing and architectural work,” Dowe said of the collaboration with AID.
Additionally, Port Authority and Royal Caribbean officials met at the Austin Babe Monsanto Marine Facility to conduct a walkthrough and discuss improvements that will be beneficial to both entities for tourists that visit through Crown Bay
“The staff and I met with the development team from Royal Caribbean a few weeks ago,” said Dowe. “The meeting went rather well…We were able to have the development folks on the ground throughout the Crown Bay areas, discussing what will be the next phase.”
Former senator, Celestino White, expressed to Dowe his concern about the completion of the permanent area where the vendors’ kiosks are normally housed in Crown Bay.
“The vendors mall, is [it] close to completion?” asked White.
Dowe responded that the kiosks are now in their original location. They were temporarily moved to complete a drop ceiling in that section of the facility.
Relating to internal matters, the personnel committee sought approval for the creation of the Marine Mechanic position for the island of St. Croix and the Manager of Fixed Assets Position on St. Thomas.
Mervyn Constantine, Marine Manager on St. Croix, expressed the need for the position so that boats in the district can be serviced efficiently. Some disdain was expressed by board member Derek Gabriel relating to the salary for the marine mechanic position, however the position was later approved. The latter position moved to executive session where it was also approved.
Also discussed was the convening of a Nov. 18 legislative session for bill no. 34-0078 which details the transfer of the Addelita Cancryn school facility to the Port Authority and the return of LIAT airlines to the territory.