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Oil levy plan wins backing from Rothwell, Bascome

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A plan to use a levy on oil imported through the east end of the island could boost St George's and make it a more attractive place to do business.

Mayor of St George's Garth Rothwell said: “If we want to retain an old town and keep it as a historic attraction, we need to put funds into it.”

Mr Rothwell added that a Government bill aimed at taking a quarter of a cent cut from every litre of oil landed through the east end docks would provide much-needed cash to improve the town and make it more attractive to visitors.

He said: “There are holes in some of our wharves and the bathrooms in the town square, which are kept very clean by our staff, are still dated and need to be brought up to modern-day standards.

“We also have a sanitary water system and a sewerage system which was put in the 1940s. We're continually doing maintenance work on it — we need the money to do preventative maintenance on it.”

He added that — although St George's was to get wharfage fees back, the loss of two cruise ships with no replacements meant that measure was unlikely to raise much money.

A major part of the problem is that the Town Cut entrance to the harbour is now too small for most modern cruise ships.

But Mr Rothwell said: “We're going to have a discussion within the Corporation about Tiger Bay and Penno's Wharf in about two weeks' time about what we think we should do with them and part of that discussion will also be about cruise ships.

“Do we try to attract a smaller one or do we look at other possibilities?”

Mr Rothwell was backed by his predecessor Kenneth Bascome, now the OBA MP for St George's North, who said: “I believe this is something which will be well-received by the people of St George's.”

He added: “It would be a large sum of money, I can guarantee that. It would be basically for the infrastructure of the town and promotional aspects for the town.”

Mr Bascome said that he felt the old town had been neglected by successive Governments in the past.

He added: “I don't think St George's received the recognition it should have received. My mission now is to cause the OBA to realise the value of St George's to the overall value of Bermuda.”

Mr Bascome explained that St George's could never cope with mass tourism — and that best way to boost numbers was through cultural had heritage tourism.

But he said: “Right now, we need the infrastructure like upgraded roads and restrooms and we need a sewage treatment plant.”

Mr Bascome added that any proposals for Town Cut were “still in limbo”.

But he said: “We need to have discussions and a concrete decision made if St George's is going to survive in these economic times.”

Mr Bascome added he preferred to use “modification” in terms of Town Cut rather than the controversial “widening”.

He said: “Modification means all sorts of things — the engineers would be ones who determine what these modifications would be.

“I am not going to say ‘yes' or ‘no' about widening. I use the word ‘modifications'.”

Mayor Garth Rothwell says a Government bill to take a quarter of a cent cut from every litre of oil landed through the East End docks would provide a much-needed cash boost to the Old Town. (photo by Glenn Tucker)
Mayor of St George's Garth Rothwell (Photo by Mark Tatem) ¬
St George's MP Kenneth Bascome

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Published September 25, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm)

Oil levy plan wins backing from Rothwell, Bascome

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