KINGSTOWN St. Vincent – The parliamentary opposition should not support in Parliament any bills for loans for the Argyle International Airport unless it sees the agreement the government has signed with Venezuela, Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock said on Wednesday.
Caracas is among Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ “coalition of the willing” that is partnering with this country to build the EC$652 million Argyle International Airport.
Gonsalves has said that the Hugo Chavez government has agreed to pay Cuban working on the project.
But the government in Kingstown, as of last August, had been paying EC$368,572 per month in wages to the Cuban and Caracas was yet to take up the EC$8.78 million tab.
“They are the ones that promised that it wouldn’t cost us a cent,” Leacock of the opposition New Democratic Party said on Wednesday of the Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party administration.
“They never brought the airport project to the Parliament for oversight. In fact, up to now, the Parliament has been treated with contempt.
“We still don’t know what is the content of the agreement … between St. Vincent and Venezuela with respect to the airport, whether it is a person to person, whether it is a country, whether it is a leader to leader and whether government change they would just renege on what they have,” Leacock said.
“In fact, unlike loans that came to the Parliament and have to be debated for parliamentary approval, I think that on that we should take a stand. If we don’t see the agreement we not giving any support to it,” he said.
“But clearly, the airport needs to be financed without creating a tax burden on the backs of the people,” Leacock said of the project, which, according to the ULP administration would not cost Vincentian taxpayers any money.