Tuesday, 26 September 2017 06:55:31 (AST)
 

National·News

PM wants Taiwan president or foreign minister to visit Argyle Airport

The terminal building at Argyle International Airport. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)

Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, says while a plaque recognising the generous donation from Taiwan has been erected inside the terminal building of Argyle International Airport, he would like the president or foreign minister from that Asian ally to visit and erect a larger one.

“But there will be a bigger plaque and I’m hoping that either the president of the Republic of China or the Foreign Minister would come to put that plaque in one of the halls at the terminal building. We must be grateful and we must be thankful,” he told a rally on Tuesday to celebrate the beginning of operations at the EC$700 million airport.

Taiwan financed the construction of the US$28 million terminal building, the single largest and most advanced infrastructure that Taiwan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have built together since diplomatic ties were established in 1981.

The Taiwanese Overseas Engineering Construction Company (OECC) won the bid to construct the terminal building, the construction of which started in 2011 and was completed, slightly ahead of schedule, in December 2013.

Addressing a ceremony on Monday to commission the airport, Taiwan ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Baushuan Ger, said he was proud “to share with you that this terminal perfectly exemplifies the strong partnership between Taiwan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

He said that through consultations and deliberations between both sides, CECI Engineering Consultants– one of the major engineering consulting firms in Taiwan and the company that was responsible for designing the building — developed the draft to pay homage to the beauty of SVG and “the high-flying dreams of its people”.

“Looking at this building, I am sure you can tell the concepts incorporated in the design invoke the images of the vast blue sea surrounding SVG and a seagull spreading its wings.”

He said the contours of the blue roof represent the ceaseless tides and waves of the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea.

“This echoes the respect for the abundant resources that Nature has endowed St. Vincent with, and the Vincentians’ aspiration to foster environmental-friendly eco-tourism,” Ger said.

Taiwan Ambassador to SVG, Baushuan Ger speaks at the flag raising ceremony on Monday. (iWN photo)

The ridges of the roof are extended at both ends to bear resemblance to the wings of a great Vincy seagull, poised to take off to a limitless blue sky, he told the thousands of persons who came out to the ceremony in which the national flag was raised and a plaque unveiled to mark the commissioning of the airport.

“In the spirit of this symbolism, I am confident that this terminal and the airport will carry St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the next stage of its prosperous future.”

Ger said that with the successful completion of the airport, more and more airlines are expected to operate direct routes between Argyle and other international major airports.

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“Consequently, more tourists will be able to visit and enjoy the beauty of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  Convenient air access will also attract more businesses to come and explore the trade and investment potential in this country.

“The opening of AIA is just the beginning.  Starting tomorrow, the doors of SVG will open even wider for better and sustainable growth,” he said in reference to Tuesday, when flights began operating from the airport.

On behalf of President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, as well as that nation’s Government and people, Ger congratulated all Vincentians on the opening of the Argyle International Airport.

“We wish that a successful operation of the airport will lead to further prosperity in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the years to come.”

In his address on Tuesday, Gonsalves also thanked  Venezuela and Cuba for their contribution to the airport.

More than a hundred Cubans worked on the airport, which was designed in their nation’s capital and more than one-third of the EC$700 million spent to build the airport came from loans from Venezuela.

Gonsalves also thanked Trinidad and Tobago, whose government, under former Prime Minister, the late Patrick Manning, gave US$10 million to kickstart the construction of the airport.

Gonsalves said that photos of Manning, along with late Cuban President, Fidel Castro, and late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, have been erected in the terminal building.

“We must say thanks, we must be grateful and we must not allow anybody from now until the end of time to come here to tell us because they don’t like Fidel, they don’t like Cuba, they don’t like Chavez, they don’t like Venezuela, to take down those photographs. Because if you do so, my jumbie will come back to haunt you.”

IWN Conversations

3 thoughts on “PM wants Taiwan president or foreign minister to visit Argyle Airport

  1. C. ben-David says:

    According to the Taiwan ambassador, “The opening of AIA is just the beginning. Starting tomorrow, the doors of SVG will open even wider for better and sustainable growth.”

    I visited the airport and toured the spacious and nicely appointed terminal on Wednesday — the tomorrow the ambassador referred to — and can verify that it is wide open for non-existent travellers and unsustainable costs and debt, features that will haunt this white elephant for an eternity as it sucks the blood out of our people.

  2. Veridical says:

    I find it very interesting that in this Newspaper , there is a Headline stating that Taiwan was sidelined at the opening of the AIA , then there is another headline stating that the PM wants
    the Taiwan PM or Foreign Minister to visit the Argyle Airport .

    Now I recall the PM Gonsalves stated in his speech that among the countries that facilitated
    the building of the AIA , WERE COUNTRIES WHO DO NOT SPEAK TO EACH OTHER . My
    take is that this is precisely why I believe PM Gonsalves stated that he wants Taiwan PM or
    the Foreign Minister to visit the AIA . I have no doubt that Taiwan will be well received and accorded a State a well earned State visit .

    In this Newspaper , I get the impression that some use this Newspaper to deliberately stir up forment , when in actuality there should be none . May be some thinks that this sells well , but
    essentially they are doing a disservice to the Country , by deliberately stirring up anger .

    Lost in the shuffle is the fact that : AT EVERY TWIST & TURN THE OPPOSITION PARTIES
    BADMOUTHED THE AIA ; Even a C. ben-David wrote a barrage of Articles , regarding the AIA
    & the Tourist Product of mainland St. Vincent . He/She went even so far as to write about the
    lack of Big Hotels , but failed to write about the fact that NO HOTELIERS OR PERSONS IN
    THE HOTEL BUSINESS WOULD EVER INVEST IN HOTELS IN ANY COUNTRY THAT DOES
    NOT HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT .

    He / She cited various Islands in the Region , but never once cited the fact that those Countries possess International Airports . That in my opinion was asinine ; since NO ONE
    in the Hotel Business would venture to build Hotels in a Country that does not have an International Airport . Now this is simple commonsense , however C. ben- Davis seems blithely unaware of this fact .

  3. Veridical says:

    C. ben-David ,

    I gathered from what YOU have stated above , the Taiwan Ambassador , was not snubbed as you seem to have suggested . THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN ST. VINCENT THAT WE HAVE
    GOT AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT . So for you to suggest that there will be no existent travellers , is utter Stupidity , One does not open an Airport , and instantaneously get a lot of
    Tourists .

    I have absolutely no doubt that returning Vincentians will come to VINCI MAS , & our unique
    NINE MORNINGS FESTIVITIES . Many of them will bring their friends since the flights would be direct , and they will not have to deal with the Uncouth People in Barbados .

    It is asinine to only blame this government alone for the fact that an International Airport was not built on the mainland . As I like to point out an undisputable fact , the Labour Party in its 1966 Manifesto stated that it would build an International Airport , it did nothing . The NDP was
    in Office for 17 years it also did nothing .

    The point I am making is that had those Governments built an International Airport on the mainland , it would have been a hell of a lot cheaper , so all those people who are now aghast at the price tag of the AIA , need to place the blame on those former Governments .

    It should be obvious to all but Lunatics , that had prior Governments built an International Airport today we would have Hotels , & a lot of Tourists . First there was criticism about the Airport , now that is is a reality , there is criticism about Travellers & Tourists . C.ben-David
    you are too steeped in negativism , I have no doubt that Tourists will come , but that aint going to happen overnight .

    The Government in my opinion now has a great platform , to lure Hoteliers to the mainland .
    The Tourists Authority needs to advertise in the USA ; Canada ; the UK & Europe . by placing ads on TV . I would suggest in addition to regular programs WILLOW , which airs International
    Cricket Matches ; the TENNIS CHANNEL ; and other Channels where airing AD Spots will be cheaper than other channels , which also should be included if they are not very expensive .

    Evidently it made absolutely no sense to place ads before the AIA was opened , so I sincerely
    hope that the Tourist Authority will now move with alacrity to place ads to kick start the Tourist Industry . The Badmouthing of the Airport needs to stop . Carping about the Flag & Star also needs to stop . I have absolutely no doubt that had the NDP built an International Airport their Supporters would have done the same thing . But as I have stated they had their chance , when for 17 years they were in control of the Government .

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iWitness News is the leading source of daily and breaking news and current affairs information from and about St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We were founded in February 2009 by Kenton X. Chance, a career journalist and adhere to the highest standards of journalism.
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