Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:THE NATURAL beauty, spectacular environment, and friendly people were what captivated Dale Westin five years ago when he took on the job of general manager of the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, Portland.
Westin, who hails from Chicago in the United States, spent his earlier years as a journalist in his hometown before getting involved in marine life, which later resulted in full-time occupation for him in a foreign country.
"I started out doing fishing and then moved on to trading," said Westin. "I was involved in the supplying of goods to Caribbean islands, and I operated from Antigua, Grenada, Cuba, and Saint Martin. I would later learn about a vacant position in Port Antonio while in Saint Martin, and as a result, I am here. I have seen a lot of changes in Port Antonio, with improvement in the road condition, which previously was in a deplorable state."
Westin, who has been at the helm of the Errol Flynn Marina since 2007, said that he has had the privilege of running the most beautiful facility in the Caribbean and elsewhere, which is far superior to some that he has seen. He noted that under his tenure, substantial fees for customs, immigration, and quarantine services were not required of yachts upon their arrival at the mega-yacht marina, providing they arrived during the normal business hours.
In recent times, the mega-yacht marina has attracted dozens of luxury yachts to its dock from Mexico, the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, and other parts of the Caribbean. It is also one of the largest and most spacious mega-yacht marinas in the English-speaking Caribbean.
WANTS CUBAN BAN LIFTED
But while the mega-yacht marina has benefitted from the frequent arrival of luxury yachts, Westin explained that he was anticipating the lifting of the Cuban travel ban on Americans, which would make a big difference in the arrival of yachts to Port Antonio.
"I would have hoped to attract a full-time contractor for the boatyard, which would extend that facility and help us to become a full-time marine facility while offering various services. I have developed a good relationship with the local people, and the experience here is just overwhelming," he added.
Westin concludes his tenure as general manager of the Errol Flynn Marina on October 31. He will be succeeded by Paul Dadd.