Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace. (IWN file photo)

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace has responded to comments made by tourism minister Cecil “Ces” McKie about an expected boom in tourist arrivals to St Vincent and the Grenadines next year.

McKie recently told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that St. Vincent and the Grenadines was “bracing for a boom in tourist arrivals with the expected opening of its first international airport in 2015.

McKie told CMC during Tourism Week in New York that the Unity Labour Party government expects visitor arrivals to the country to more than double when the Argyle International Airport becomes operational.

The government has said that the airport will be completed by the end of 2014 and should become operations sometime around the middle of 2015.

“So where we welcomed just over (a few) visitors by air each year now, we expect that those numbers will triple in the next two years once the international airport is opened,” McKie told CMC.

But Eustace, speaking on his New Democratic Party’s daily radio programme, said on Wednesday that while the tourism minister is talking about a boom over the next two years, the Argyle International Airport is yet to be completed and the government knows that it cannot be completed by the end of this year, as planned.

“The airport is not going to finish in 2014 and the government knows that because they’ve admitted to that. They’ve admitted to that so how you could he make this statement as Minister of Tourism?” Eustace said.

He further said there is no indication of any preparation for the assumed tourism boom in terms of additional training of persons for the hospitality service industry and expansion of hotels and guest houses to accommodate more tourists.

“So, how is he going to double it next year in terms of the number of visitors coming in and triple it in the next two years?” Eustace said.

“Come on, we’re not fools. This is an insult to our intelligence as a people here. We’re not backward. For the minister of tourism to make such a statement something is wrong with him… So, he’s suddenly going to have [doubled figures], without any new construction and so on? We don’t know what airlines coming here up to now or how many will come.”

Eustace said he found the tourism minister’s statement to be “totally irresponsible.”

“Why you going to make a statement like that to the media? We expecting a boom? St Vincent and the Grenadines expecting a boom in tourism?” he said.

“Who he trying to fool?” Eustace further said.

6 replies on “Eustace questions minister’s tourism boom projection”

  1. Sir, the Tourism Minister would not be fooling you and I; but trust me- there are still thousands of clueless people in SVG, who are prepared to drink at the ULP’s fountain of stupidity. That’s why Ces can make such a ludicrous statement. He and the rest of the ULP bunch know pretty much the minds of some Vincentians and what they are prepared to believe from the Comrade’s party.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    I agree. Minster McKie should tell us the following:

    1. Which international airlines have promised to service Argyle International Airport. (Or is this still a carefully guarded State secret as the PM claimed last year).

    2. What proportion of arriving passengers are bona fide tourists who would not have come here in the absence of a direct flight from overseas (as opposed to nationals simply returning home for a vacation who will stay with family (as usual) or other citizens who have gone overseas for business or other reasons. These are persons who would come back home regardless of whether there is an international airport or not).

    3. Where will all the thousands of tourists stay given that there are only a couple hundred hotel and guesthouse rooms on the mainland, at most.

  3. It now looks like the entire ULP rat-pack are strangers to the truth. There are some folks who believe these lies and ridicule others when they raise questions about the validity of such statements.
    I have been asking and watching for the resources and infrastructure needed to house McKie’s wish-list. There nothing! What in hell are people going to visit main land St. Vincent for? There are no attractions whatsoever. The only people who visit are SVG nationals coming home for a few weeks’ vacation. Even the tourist boats are reluctant to come here. I wonder if the problem lies in the absence of toilets facilities to help folks on those tour buses to relieve themselves.
    The public toilets in Kingstown are a mess. There is no way a tour bus driver can take tourists to these facilities. I am not sure the buses are equipped with such facilities either, so where do tourists relieve themselves. Thanks God we don’t have snakes or wild animals in the bushes.

  4. Goodness gracious Eustace, it’s just a prediction! “Wey wrong wid dat? Why you always have to get “bent outa shape so” every time.
    Man, you and your party really taking this “opposition thing” too far…Oppose! Oppose! Oppose! “All ‘yo does sleep and dream oppose?” Can’t you give the ULP credit for something, anything?

    1. See, this is where you are wrong again!
      For it is more than a production. This is after all the Tourism minister spouting out spurious information without even a shred of supporting evidence.
      One would assume that the minister’s word can be used to help predict other macroeconomic factors, but how can it when the man says things that he cannot substantiate?
      This is a government minister giving out financially sensitive (in terms of the market) information on an issue which he understands to be flawed. In the business world, one may see the inside of a prison for that sort of behaviour.
      Also, if there were such a boom in tourism, where will we accommodate these tourists?
      An international airport is no use without supporting infrastructure. Has anyone seen the business case to support this airport?
      Where is the financial accountability that should go hand in hand with any such development?
      I fear that we have all been taken for a ride on this one.
      But then again Miss M Knight, you have never been opposed to a ride have you?

  5. Lol! Knight, I said already, Eustace’s motto is “Oppose everything from the ULP Government, regardless”…He is the Leader Of The Opposition, what do you expect? forget him.

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