When Peter de Savary, owner of Port Louis Grenada, met Junior Cuffie, a mutual bond was formed. Mr. de Savary had put out a search for a young, efficient, highly-motivated Grenadian to become Harbour Master of his new marina. Junior fit the bill in every way. A native of Providence, St. David’s, where his father and grandfather were fishermen, Cuffie was one of nine sons. His love of water led him into the yachting industry after a college education and stint in the computer industry. In 2000 he returned to Grenada, from New York, where he had worked offshore for a Canadian company in the computer field before expanding his skills at Island Water World and Budget Marine. After Hurricane Ivan devastated Grenada in 2004, Cuffie went to work at Crisis Shield, a charity that was formed to provide houses for homeless.
During this period, a former schoolmate and friend, Danny Donelan, now the Communications and Development Manager for Port Louis, told Cuffie that the job of Harbour Master at Port Louis was open and urged him to submit his resume, with his strong qualifications that included STCW95 certification. Among all of the many applicants, Peter de Savary wanted to meet him. They met in the evening at Mr. de Savary’s residence and then the next day on de Savary’s yacht, Savvy, where Cuffie’s brother Eric is the chef, for further conversation in February 2007. Junior Cuffie soon was on the job at the marina where work had already begun.
“The first thing we did was a massive cleanup,” says Cuffie. “There were still boats sunk in the lagoon from Ivan, as well as decades of rubbish on the bottom, so all of this had to be cleared. The land was then filled and the first stationary dock and dinghy dock were completed. The Victory Bar and Grill was also finished, as well as the aviary, the gardens and the marina office. We are planning for 350 individual slips including approximately 20 for mega yachts.”
The first stage of slips should be finished in December for a transient dock with cable TV, WiFi, telephone, electricity and water for larger yachts up to 150’. Yachts up to 240’ will be accommodated on docks to be built at the northern side of the project. Seven floating piers in front of the marina office are slated to house yachts from 40’ to 90’, a massive project—Port Louis eventually will be the largest marina in the eastern Caribbean from the Virgins south.
“I see, as my main challenge, providing excellence in customer service before all else,” says Cuffie. “We are a Five Star Yacht Resort and as such we provide everything for our guests from the moment they send us an e-mail or a phone call until checkout. We will be working with all of the gourmet food providers, specialty shops, wine and liquor, florists, etc.- specialists in Grenada who offer 100% provisioning delivered to individual yachts.
“We also have a chandlery – if we don’t have it, we will get it. We have sub contractors with all of the best marine services so that interior work can be done directly on the dock. Obviously, exterior work must be done off the premises. My staff has received training in social skills, etiquette, first aide, fire-fighting, oil spills, and proper hurricane procedures and we are all very excited about our future success rate.”