Cuthbert Didier Calls For Urgent Upgrade Of Marine Industry

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by Reginald Andrew

Regional marine consultant, Cuthbert Didier,  is making an urgent plea for the upgrade and development of the local and regional marine industry.

Didier says it is time that the authorities take a critical look at upgrading the marine industry locally, and in the wider sub-region to procure long-term economic sustainability. 

Speaking in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, he asserted that re-positioning the industry at this juncture should be foremost on the agenda of major stakeholders.

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In assessing the current state of affairs in the industry, Didier laid out some ‘clear definitive guidelines’ on the way forward.

Taking an in-depth look into the sub-regional operations, Didier emphasized that the use of technology is being encouraged for formalities before arrival, communication, customs, pre-clearance etc.

He added that while lots of focus is placed on land-based tourism to procure revenue, more emphasis needs to be directed at the wider yachting sector.

While advocating strongly for a sub-regional approach to better manage the marine industry, he stressed on the importance of an Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) collaboration among the 9 islands as the best policy to be rigorously pursued.

Didier, a veteran marine consultant with more than three decades working experience and who is quite passionate about the industry, has publicly expressed his sentiments for revamping  the operations of the marine industry.

He feels there is much more that can be gained from this highly lucrative industry with vast employment prospects abounding to benefit the people of the sub-region.

Didier said the biggest issue in this COVID-19 environment is the need for clear, definitive guidelines and protocols for processing visitors and yachties. 

“Covid presents a unique opportunity for St. Lucia and the national marine product, especially yachting, in that it provides us with an opportunity to fine tune processes and really use technology to improve facilitation within the industry,” he noted.

Didier added: “Unique protocols have been put in place for the yachting sector, which opened up before the airports.”

Consequently, he asserted that  Covid presents an opportunity for collaboration rather than competition within the yachting sector in the Eastern Caribbean.

And for Saint Lucia to proceed with the next phase of this transition to reposition the operational standards within the industry, Didier feels there is need “to analyze global yachting trends.

“So, to reposition the yachting industry, we first need to do a ‘SWOT analysis’ of the islands, the strengths, the weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The one thing that’s obvious is that the yachting sector in St. Lucia has evolved.”

He added: “It’s no longer the ‘mom and pop’ small cruisers, there are bigger boats. So technology is key and the persons who own yachts are younger, they get richer a lot quicker and a very interesting phenomenon is evolving. The wealthier they seem to be; they seem to want a simpler life.”

To be better able to cash in on the maritime prospects in store, Didier envisions:  “We need to get more persons and skilled St. Lucians into boat building, and into high-tech servicing. A significant number /proportion of the yachts that sail into the Caribbean are Taiwanese built.”

 

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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