The plan by Sen. Julian Francis and two “dare devil” pilots to land a plane at the international airport construction site in 2011 would not have been approved, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says.
Francis, the Minister of Transport and Work, told Parliament of the plan earlier this month.
He said one of two pilots — Jonathan Palmer and Jerry Cordice — who have “taken all the chances in flying” had agreed to land a plane at Argyle.
“In fact, Mr. Speaker, when the IADC (International Airport Development Company) was doing the ground breaking for the terminal building [in August 2011], if it didn’t rain for two days, an aircraft would have landed at Argyle because one of those pilots done agree,” Francis told Parliament.
“We went out there, we put cones on the wire, you know, Mr. Speaker. Prime Minister ain’t know that, chairman of the IADC don’t know it. I decide I was going to surprise everybody. But I decided in the end to discuss it. Because if something did happen, they woulda lock me up,” Francis further said.
Gonsalves was asked about the plan at a press conference on Monday.
“Well, you know, I take a lot of chances with things. Julian had raised it because Julian is a man, as I think everybody knows, he has a very creative and inventive mind and he always likes to push the envelope sometimes with certain things,” Gonsalves said.
“That would not have gotten my approval and I made it plain. And more than that, I don’t think the Director of Airports would have allowed the airspace of St. Vincent and Grenadines to be so used,” he further stated.
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Civil aviation, said it would have been different had the plan included a helicopter, because of the vertical take-off and landing.
“But don’t use it to put a wedge between me and Julian,” he said, seemingly lightheartedly.
“This is a thing where Julian was talking very enthusiastically and very expansively in a hyperbolic fashion to show how he is attached to this thing and he even wants to go so far to do something.
“Those things won’t happen without my knowledge and without my sanction. I wouldn’t have sanctioned it,” he said.