Relief is on the way for the residents of Acklins as the Ministry of Transport has committed to subsidizing at least one additional mailboat to transport goods to the southern island, which has faced challenges in receiving much-needed supplies in a timely manner.
Residents have long complained that the owner of the island’s local fuel station refuses to bring fuel on his vessel for other business owners in order to eliminate the prospect of competition.
However, with an additional mailboat expected to service the needs of Acklins in the near future, other local business owners interested in supplying fuel will now be able to open competing fuel stations and provide residents with other options.
A chief complaint for residents of the southern islands is that certain vessels are scheduled to deliver goods on certain days but simply do not show up, creating a huge inconvenience for residents who have lost freight that was just sitting on the dock waiting to be transported.
On Acklins, three trips are scheduled to the island per month. However, according to residents, there have been instances where the boat has arrived loaded with items for other southern islands but not Acklins.
The effort to address these concerns is being spearheaded by Minister of Housing and Transport JoBeth Coleby-Davis, who has already received government approval.
The Davis Administration is currently in negotiations with several mailboat operators who have expressed an interest in servicing the Acklins route once it becomes subsidized.
Once negotiations are completed, at least one contract is expected to be finalized.