After five trial Harbour Days in Frederiksted last month, the organizer of the event has deemed the idea "premature."
Harbour Days was to be an offshoot of the successful Harbour Night, where vendors, artists and bands present their talents to cruise ship passengers in a night time street fair. The daytime version, however, encountered opposition from taxi drivers and merchants in both Frederiksted and Christiansted.
Hugh Dalton, owner of the public relations firm Dalton Associates and the promoter of Harbour Nights, said that while the Harbour Days idea is a good one, there needs to be at least two ships in port to make it viable.
Without the extra, or larger, ships, Dalton said it is "too premature to divide up the pie among the vendors."
Dalton was referring to vendors who set up there booths at the clock tower in Frederiksted. They were the most vocal opponents of Harbour Days because they would have had to pay to set up shop in the Harbour Day area along the waterfront.
The clock tower vendors had enlisted the help of Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, who assailed Dalton’s efforts at starting the daytime event. In a Dec. 17 letter to Acting Tourism Commissioner Monique Sibilly Hodge, Hansen said that Dalton was acting "irresponsibly."
"Since the inception of Harbor Day, it appears to have an effect on the business community," Hansen wrote. "The establishments of Christiansted and Frederiksted have been badly affected. It needs to be understood that tourism related businesses are adversely affected also. The Taxi Association is disillusioned by the actions of Mr. Dalton."
While Dalton conceded that not everyone was happy with his brainchild, he said his primary goal was to enhance the status of St. Croix, and particularly Frederiksted, as a cruise ship port of call.
"What we found out was there was merchant competition in Frederiksted and Christiansted and the taxis made less money because they weren’t taking people to Christiansted," Dalton said. "My objective was for St. Croix to have a good first impression, create more business in Frederiksted and create an identity for St. Croix over the other islands."
And Dalton denied accusations that he was making a undue amounts of profit from his Harbour Day endeavor, saying that the negative reaction to the idea was akin to "shooting the messenger." He said promoter’s fees for the daytime event cost six times that of Harbour Night.
"To be honest, this was for my love of Frederiksted and the vendors," he said. "If we get more ships in, we all make more money."


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