Visitors Activity Centre and Tea House in phase two of Agro-Tourism Project, PM Douglas, Ambassador Tsao turn sod

Breaking ground (left to right) – Cabinet Secretary and Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Joseph Edmeade; Resident Taiwan Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Miguel Tsao; St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; Minister of Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Richard Skerritt and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Ashton Stanley.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 3RD 2013 (CUOPM) – The second phase of the Agro-Tourism Farm Project at Sir Gilles is part of the transformation and transitioning from what would have been the old sugar-agriculture economy to the new one led by tourism and hospitality services and diversified agriculture. Phase One was the construction of a Greenhouse.

“We are in what has been described as the sugar belt of the past, but we are now at the area of the ongoing transformation of the economy, which will be of immense benefit for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, our returning nationals, Caribbean and visitors from far and near,” said St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for the second phase, which includes the construction of the Visitors Activity Centre and Tea House, Prime Minister Douglas noted that visitors to the Agro-Tourism Project would witness the passing of the St. Kitts Scenic Railway train going to its turnaround point.

“The Scenic Railway Train that will use this very area as its turnaround point as it deposits those who would have joined the train in Basseterre just outside our old Sugar Factory and would terminate that train ride here at La Valle and then they would walk this very short distance from the turnaround point into our Agro-Tourism demonstration project area that will showcase to a large extent how far we have come from where we were,” said Dr. Douglas.

He noted that the project was first conceptualized during one of his Official Visits to Taiwan in 2008.

Taiwan’s Resident Ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis His Excellency Miguel Tsao said the second phase, which will cost some US$2 million will also include the construction of the Entry Point (one Arch with ten vertical vegetation panels) and restrooms.

He said some thirty (30) containers are expected to arrive from Taiwan by the end of April.

The artist’s impression of the Visitors Center and Tea House. (Photos by Erasmus Williams)

“This project will be constructed through steel structure and precast panels on a total surface area of land preparation of two thousand (2000) square yards, with five hundred (500) cube yards of concrete for the foundation, one hundred and fifty (150) tons of steel structure and three thousand and five hundred (3,500) square yards of total surface are of panels. We are planning to finish up the second phase construction in December,” Ambassador Tsao said.

Dr. Douglas thanked the Government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the tremendous assistance that has been provided to the Government in moving the country and its people forward.

“I want you to appreciate the fact that we do not take the support of your Government and your People for granted. We are grateful for the assistance that you have provided, the leadership that you have brought to the fulfilment of our dream and our vision in the transformation of our country,” Prime Minister Douglas told Taiwan’s Resident Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Miguel Tsao.

He also expressed thanks to others who have assisted in the continuing development of the project.

“I want to thank the Committee members who have been leading on this project. I want to thank the personnel in both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Tourism for the tremendous and guidance that have been displayed. I want to thank the Ground Staff for so ably demonstrating the hard work that was necessary as this transformation was being realized,” said Dr. Douglas.

Special thanks was given to Kittitian Kenny Manning “who travelled to Taiwan only a few years ago on a scholarship, returned and is now working in this project for its full realization and fruition.”

Prime Minister Douglas also thanked the Taiwanese staff for the tremendous support to the hard work and dedication and the cooperation and friendship, not only be at the government level, but at the people level as well.

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