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Premier: State of St George is ‘unacceptable’

Premier Craig Cannonier went on a fact-finding tour of St George to witness first hand some of the town’s crumbling infrastructure.

And Mr Cannonier has pledged not to let the east end get dragged further into decline, saying the condition of the UNESCO World Heritage site was “unacceptable”.

The Premier, along with Deputy Premier Michael Dunkley, was invited on the tour by area MP Kenneth Bascome. Also taking part in the walkabout were St George Mayor Garth Rothwell, Deputy Mayor Quinell Francis, and Rick Spurling and Kenneth Snaith of the St George’s Foundation.

After a walk along Penno’s Wharf, the Premier was shown a derelict warehouse that once housed the town’s fire station. The party then drove to St George’s golf course, which was shut down by the former Government in 2007 as part of a deal to develop the nearby former Club Med resort. That development never broke ground and both the hotel site and the golf course have been left abandoned ever since.

Mayor Rothwell informed the Premier that cash was needed to maintain key structures in the Old Town.

He said holes had developed in several spots along the sea wall and the town’s public bathrooms were dated. The Corporation is also currently carrying out a cost study into ways in which the town’s square can be resurfaced. A new trash truck is also on the Corporation’s shopping list.

“Unfortunately the infrastructure really needs some work,” Mr Rothwell said.

The Corporation is short of funds, with day-to-day operational costs taking up its entire budget. As a result, there is no revenue for infrastructure repair or development, Mr Rothwell said.

Following the hour-long tour, the Premier said: “Quite frankly, after taking the tour this morning, I am disturbed at the amount of neglect of key buildings and properties.

“To see St George’s, the former capital of the Island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the condition that it is in, is unacceptable.

“This Government is about restoring hope for Bermuda and its people, which includes the town of St George. We will be working with the relevant ministries and stakeholders to address their most pressing concerns.”

Mr Bascome added: “I had been trying to get the Premier and some Ministers to come down for some time to highlight some of the issues that the constituency has.

“I wanted them to see that a lot of things in the town that need to be done don’t actually require large sums of money. There are other, bigger issues of course, like getting a regular cruise ship here and finding a developer for the hotel, but I think the tour was very productive.”

Repairs needed: St George's Mayor Garth Rothwell (second from left) speaks to Premier Craig Canonier (left) alongside chair of the St Georges Foundation Rick Spurling and Deputy Premier Michael Dunkley in a warehouse near Tiger Bay during a tour of the Old Town yesterday. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published June 27, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 26, 2013 at 11:44 pm)

Premier: State of St George is ‘unacceptable’

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