by Makeida Antonio
Business owners in Redcliffe Quay say a locked gate which they claim is preventing cruise ship passengers from accessing the boardwalk to their stores is “a slap in the face”.
Several told Observer they believe that opening the gate, which has been locked since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, is long overdue.
The gate, shut by two hinges and a padlock, can be seen from a bridge which was previously destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017. While the bridge has undergone repairs since, reports are that a Bahamian engineer condemned that section of the boardwalk calling it unsafe for a large volume of people to traverse.
Tension between two neighbouring businesses has been building since the access has been cut off. The owners of one store said that they have been complaining about the locked gate since the anticipation of a free flow of cruise ship passengers into St John’s at the beginning of this week.
However, a representative from the other business told Observer that nothing is stopping tourists from venturing over into Redcliffe Quay after enjoying land and sea excursions around the island.
Other businesses have denounced the decision to keep the gate closed as they feel cut off from potential revenue, while still having to pay rent and staff to operate.
General Manager of Antigua Cruise Port Dona Regis-Prosper told Observer yesterday that business owners have been made aware of why the gate is closed, adding that she is open to achieving solutions favourable for all.