Former Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin described the current state of Potter’s Cay Dock as “a great travesty”.
Photos of garbage on the dock were widely circulated on social media this week with many expressing their frustrations and concerns. When contacted, officials from the Port Department would not comment on the matter and Minister of Transport Renward Wells said he would have to visit the site before responding to any questions.
Hanna-Martin claimed no progress has been made on the dock since the Free National Movement was elected in 2017.
“They met in train an aggressive, focused, detailed, planned redevelopment of Potter’s Cay Dock and it looks as if, based on what we can see, it went so far until we left and that was it,” she said.
The former minister said that a “public-private consultative process” was conducted to avoid the dock deteriorating further.
“The mail boat association and other stakeholders we met, the Ministry of Works was actively involved, plans were drawn up, health and safety [was also involved] to deal with the logistics of out there for safety reasons,” Hanna-Martin said.
Speaking of the redevelopment plan, Hanna-Martin expressed concern that the government should have been much further along by now.
Instead of items being unloaded on the dock, Hanna-Martin said, the dock “should’ve included a freight depot … so that freight would be unloaded and placed in a depot and then be rationalized to the mail boat operators in accordance with who was supposed to get what.
“There should have been other logistical operational matters [in place] that would have created greater efficiency on that docking facility.”
Hanna-Martin added that Potter’s Cay Dock no longer seems to be a priority item for the government.
“It looks as if it has come to a halt, and not only come to a halt, it looks like Potter’s Cay Dock has really moved down in priority,” she said.
The redevelopment of the dock began in 2015 and was scheduled to include three overlapping phases to be completed in a 16-month period.
Delays included a redesign of proposed stalls as the government said they were initially “too elaborate”.
Phase I included removal and relocation of trees on the southern foreshore to create a parking area which would extend to Williams Street, while the second phase involved an extension of the fish farm store to accommodate mail boat operators and agents, repair of the causeway, widening of the dock entry and the installation of sidewalks, signage, drainage wells and additional landscaping.
The final phase of the project would have involved the demolition of existing stalls and replacing them with around 65 new ones inclusive of some which would be constructed over water given the restricted space between the bridge and bulkhead at Potter’s Cay Dock.
While in opposition, Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest criticized the government over perceived changes in the amount budgeted for the project.
In a 2016 interview with The Tribune, Turnquest said “The minister must be made to account for this unbelievable overrun and where not substantiated, made to return those funds to the Treasury forthwith.
“It must be apparent to all…that this government is reckless and unapologetic in its blatant disregard for proper fiscal planning and control.”
Since taking office, the Minnis administration has said it remains committed to the revitalization initiative.
Last year April in an interview with Guardian Business, then Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Renward Wells said “it is still the intention of government to be able to beautify Potter’s Cay.”
“We are going to be looking at pushing down the stalls that are over there that are, in our view, somewhat of an eyesore. And we’re looking at how we can beautify and bring them within code,” he said.