Argyle International Airport, seen here on July 29, 2014, is scheduled to be completed by year end. (IWN photo)

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to news.iwitness@gmail.com.

For two elections now the Argyle international airport has been used as a prerequisite for votes!

Each year voters and taxpayers alike have been promised a completed and fully operated international airport. To us, this is a never-ending promise, which seemed distant — like a ship being driven by weak tail winds from the horizon.

Development of infrastructure is most important; however, infrastructure should not go unplanned or left idle. Moreover, constructing an international airport is not the same as constructing a private house. When investments are made in building a private home, solely, the household is affected. Conversely, investing in a national project like the Argyle International Airport, certainly affects the entire nation.

Therefore, an investment of this magnitude should not be undertaken without an adequate financial plan, which involves the allocation of assets and liabilities, time value of money, working capital, risk management and the rate of return.

In fact, at the commencement of this important project the government had minimal funds, and did not even consider the capital structure and the debt to equity ratio; neither did the government take into consideration the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) — not examining the average costs of these sources of finance: debt or equity.

Additionally, the government’s failure to consider the net present value (NPV) of its investment or disclose its marketing strategies, have prompted Vincentians to ask many pertinent questions relative to the viability of this investment and today, tax payers are still investigating the profitability of this project. This is a vial question to raise, since the government has used the harsh global financial times as an excuse for SVG’s daunting economic environment.

However, this is not all!

The capital budgeting phenomenon is not being determined either; therefore, it is unknown whether this new project is worth pursuing. Additionally, some taxpayers are still of the opinion that the government should pursue other long-term ventures, or whether it is more feasible to extend ET Joshua Airport or the airport on Canouan Island, open a help desk at Hewanorra International Airport in St. Lucia than constructing an entirely new airport at Argyle. This is an important factor, since the lifetime of cash inflows and outflows of a perspective investment are analysed in an effort to determine whether the generated returns achieve an adequate target benchmark.

Similarly, it is important to acquire other infrastructure, such as roads, fire and safety, security, health care and hotel accommodations before an international airport can function effectively. After a careful assessment of the condition of infrastructure in SVG, the government is opened to many challenges including increasing crimes, liability, loss of reputation and isolation.

Not surprising, the completion date has been postponed on many occasions — suggesting, from inception, the Argyle project has no real management or leadership!

Despite all this, I support the Argyle project considering its potential for economic development. For me, all is not lost as proper planning for financing the remainder of the project is still possible and it profitability can be reached through well-thought of extensive marketing strategies. The infrastructure is not a short-term investment, but one I believe, would bring long-term benefit to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) once managed property.

To date, and with empirical evidence, this project has failed financially and from a management perspective. I believe this is so, because the decision to build the airport and more so, the financing strategy were centralised; decisions concentrated at the top, and only made by a few individuals.

From a political viewpoint, however, I am of the opinion that all these setbacks have damaged the leader’s credibility and reputation of the governing party, especially the multiple postponements of the completion date — creating doubts in the minds of the people whether the government is competent and capable of getting the job done. In this capacity, I am predicting that the governing party could lose enormous votes in the next general elections.

As we speak, the completion date has been pushed forward, yet another time to midyear 2015. Henceforth, the Prime Minister (PM) would be unwise to call elections after midyear 2015 as it is unlikely that the airport would be completed then. His best strategy is to call elections before August 2015 with a view that people would believe that this new date for the airport completion is reachable.

Having said this, I am sure that the airport strategy for votes has been played out; hence, it is advisable that the PM develop a new strategy; however, I am assuming that this would be extremely difficult making reference to the PM’s poor performance.

Here, a better strategy might be to distract his constituency by using the Georgetown sea defence strategy — a seemingly empty promise that most people have already analysed and deemed unattainable.

I reiterate, the Argyle International Airport investment is an important project and all Vincentians should welcome it, as this project has enormous long-term benefits for economic sustainability. However, much work is left to be done and should be pursue by different governing bodies.

2015 general elections – vote wisely!

D. Markie Spring

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to news.iwitness@gmail.com.

13 replies on “Argyle airport: SVG’s first amusement park”

  1. Assing Richards says:

    D Markie
    You are a number one plonker. Why don’t you write in your own name? Who are you and what is your profession? Are you an expert in anything or just an empty vessel passing off as someone who knows more than every body.

    How much money did you contribute to the airport?
    Why are you so critical of the Airport?… Is it because you can’t do it?
    You are not fooling me, NDP are sh….ng themselves because as Sir James said “if Ralph builds that airport crappo smoke your pipe”
    Meaning, the end of your political chances of ever winning an election.

    This Airport will be the death of the Un Democratic Party which is now led by a very spiteful, snob and a man who hates people who criticise him.
    NDP will loose this time again, they will loose votes because of the wicked defiling of the Church organised by the NDP and spurred on by Eustace and a most dangerous lady pretending to be a professional broadcaster, when in effect the broadcast is pure NDP LIES.
    I live in Leytonstone, London and will be researching the life and times you claim you spent with Berni Grant and your activities in East and North London.
    You love talking bad about people, let’s she how you and your past stand up to detailed scrutiny. Hope you read this before your usual Saturday anti Ralph broadcast.
    I will be listening.

    1. Steve Huggins says:

      Ass-ing Rich-ards, for what it is worth, I can vouch for Mr. Markie SPRING as a real live person writing under HIS OWN NAME.

      Markie Spring, snow-bird long-range Vincie, was a champion SVG bodybuilder at the Junior and Senior levels. He has been an international Vincentian athlete. D. said MARKIE SPRING represented his secondary school in CRICKET and SOCCER. He snubbed me, like you ‘English’ types, by NOT taking up my TABLE TENNIS coaching sessions at the inter-secondary schools competitive level, though he was pals with all my players and would occasionally engage in recreational ‘knock-ups’ with the guys. I believe Spring also was a mainstay Track and Field athlete at school in Vincyland, mostly in the Field events.

      Mr. Spring served as a Policeman for many years in SVG.

      Markie later ventured overseas and did College/University studies in CANADA, and, I believe also, the United Kingdom. He major in the business areas.

      OF COURSE, I shall have to authenticate “unno” – – – as a SNOW-BIRD VINCY fram lang-distance wont be able to say whether yours truly, too, is actually writing under my own name.

      IF YOU ARE A NEO-AFRO-SAXON, how ON EARTH can you possibly qualify to challenge ANY WRITER HERE as to their bona fides, or true names and identity.

      YOU ARE SORELY OUT OF TOUCH, if you are even really whom YOU ‘claim’ to be.

      Oh yes: TO BE or MOT TO BE.

  2. I am happy for this airport being constructed, And I don’t care what it been call or accused of. The fact this it is being build and will soon completed. The ULP promise our nation people an International airport and the are delivering it. The NDP from the time they get into office for 15 years and for every election they promise or say they are going to build and international airport, I can also recall and one of their campaign, Sir James, stated he have the money in his back pocket. and no taxpayer money is building airport. Also Like many big project all over the world they do encounters with delays of many type and revasion of completion date. So what is the talk about. The NDP who for 17 years and their election promise to build one and did not as much as turn one stone over. So the question is who should get my vote? The answer is: The one that is able to turn one stone over, live up to that promise and is delivering. Yes delays are expected because delays and setback affect every living person on this earth. No one on this God given world can tell me their life is perfect and never had a setback in life. even a simple house can have delays. If we had this long time ago the movement of good and people would have been much better today, But because of this Airport being constructed it will be very soon. Thank God, Soon our people will not be wasting a lot of money buy two or three airline tickets just to leave or get to this small multi island nation of ours.

  3. And talk about foolishness about pursue to allow a different government to completed it. nonsense. For 17 years you could not turn or lift as much as one stone, and an opposition leader, when asked if he get into power will he continue it was clueless, and clueless as to where to source funds, that he cry out in the interview find it where.

  4. Thank you Markie for your opinions. I agree with every point except profitability, because I believe it can never be profitable except perhaps if you consider it as a benefit to the people, that may be considered the only profit.

    As for financial profit it will never be profitable, mainly because of the fiscal duncmanship that has gone into the airport and the huge debt that it has created because of that fiscal duncmanship. I am personally of no doubt the debt is rapidly approaching two billion EC dollars.

    The whole project has been based on lies and untruths from start to finish. Lies about funding, who was paying the Cubans wages, who was supplying materials and services free, the coalition of the willing, plant and machinery was being supplied free, when completed we would be completely debt free, all lies. In fact I believe the whole project has been based on the mass deception of the Vincentian people, at home and abroad.

    The Unity Communist Party [ULP] has proven to us that they cannot run the country let alone an international airport. I will refrain from saying they couldn’t run a mauby shop, because its many times worse than that, and such a statement would be a gross insult to mauby shop owners. All the government buildings are falling apart and require urgent repairs and painting. Even government buildings that were built during the last ten years are now looking like slums. All the road are damaged further through neglect, to the condition that many are now unusable, even on foot, let alone by vehicle.

    River defences that were subject to numerous reports remain to this day ignored and not done. Even to the point that many died at Christmas by the same government ignorance at Buccament. I have pointed out that the government and ministries from top to bottom were aware the possible outcome that failure to install defences could bring, and it did. I believe that Ministers must be held responsible and culpable for the deaths of those people.

    There is no hospital in SVG capable of dealing with more than a one or two person emergency. When two people arrive at Milton Cato seriously injured, the second one may wait for anything from 4 to 16 hours to receive treatment. No drugs, no dressings, sometimes no bedclothes, sheets etc. Family and relatives have to scurry and scuttle around the islands pharmacies looking for medication, to take back to the hospital. Currently they have no pain medicines or drugs, except headache tablets, and the mind and body damaging raw morphine.

    If there was ever an accident at the airport those people would be doomed to die, if not in the crash, certainly by being unable to get proper and swift medical treatment.

    Markie thanks once again for your opinion piece.

    Peter

    You cannot run an airport like you run a country, telling lies and untruths

  5. Horace Williams says:

    Markie Spring’s article above has completely surprised me.

    I say that because he had previously expressed support for the new International Airport.
    At that time, he also expressed the reservation that he did not want to see the airport being used as a magnet by the ULP to attract votes, come the 2015 elections.

    ……….Well, look at his very last sentence.

    His bone of contention is that the airport will most definitely be used in the upcoming elections. ” AND WHY NOT?”

    Isn’t a government supposed to point to all of their projects, achievements and initiatives as proof of their positive and productive stewardship?

    Does Markie Spring really believe that the government should not single out the new airport as one of their crowning achievements?

    All of our previous governments “considered” the project – – but none of them did anything about its construction.

    Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP HAVE CONSTRUCTED the largest capital project in our country’s history, and Markie expects nothing to be said about it!

    Just how delusional could he be?

    Look at the struggle over the past 6 years for us to be able to get to this point. The NDP opposed the project, and those Vincentians were strongly against its construction. In recent years that has changed, and by 2010, 84% of our citizens supported the project. With that in mind, the NDP was forced to quickly change gears, AND EVEN LIE, by saying that they have investors who could complete the airport if they were returned to power.

    However, even though they now accept the airport’s necessity and reality, they are still trying everything possible to criticize its completion. That is why Markie Spring is calling it an amusement park.

    JAMES MITCHELL warned the NDP and their supporters to oppose the project. He was as blunt as can be, when he said,
    “IF ALLYUH MAKE RALPH BUILD THAT AIRPORT ……. CRAPPO SMOKE YUH PIPE!”

    The NDP is fully aware that once The Comrade builds the airport, it is quite possible that the NDP will never again obtain political leadership in the country.

    As a result, we have seen this level of continuous (persistent and perpetual) opposition to the airport;s construction.

    That explains Markie Spring’s backward and delusional opinion on this subject.

  6. I agree with most of your assertions because they are based on empirical facts.
    You rightly state that: “… it is unknown whether this new project is worth pursuing” and ground this with the arguments you and others have often made: poor planning; slip-shod funding; incompetent administration; lack of public consultation or independent oversight; missing feasibility study; no cost-benefit analysis; no real alternate attempt to better integrate Arnos Vale airport with nearby fully-developed but underused airports; what appears to be a deliberate attempt to delay project completion to gain political advantage; and inadequate ancillary infrastructure and services (security, tourist facilities, medical care for visitors, etc.)

    With all these negatives, it is surprising that you still conclude that: “I support the Argyle project considering its potential for economic development” and “… the Argyle International Airport investment is an important project and all Vincentians should welcome it, as this project has enormous long-term benefits for economic sustainability.”

    This is surprising since you present not a shred of evidence of the airport’s “potential” or promise of “enormous long-term benefits for economic sustainability” but only evidence of the project’s shortcomings.

    Please tell us what this potential is based on hard evidence and a comparison to similar projects in similar environments, not empty assertions about a huge boast in tourism, the construction of multi-million dollar hotels at non-existent locales, the hypothetical air shipment of thousands of tons of agricultural produce and fish to non-existent markets, and so forth.

    And please don’t tell us that “if we build it, they will come” because all right-thinking people, including the Prime Minster, know that building a tourism-oriented airport is a very risky business even where there is considerable tourist potential. Building one on mainland St. Vincent where this potential is nearly absent is only a recipe for failure.

  7. Horace Williams says:

    MARKIE SPRING started his article above by saying, “for two elections now, the Argyle International Airport has been used as a prerequisite for votes.

    Let me ask Markie, WHICH TWO ELECTIONS?

    Construction on the airport began in 2008, AND THERE HAS ONLY BEEN ONE ELECTION SINCE THEN.

    The next election is scheduled to take place by mid- March 2016, which is not here yet!

    Which two elections, are you referring to Markie?

    I hope Markie is not continuing the NDP long-standing tradition of BARE-FACED LYING!

    1. Steve Huggins says:

      USING horace williams’ response, in sole, I would like to say that THERE HAVE BEEN TWO ELECTIONS SINCE 2008.

      IS the journalistically disgrace horace SO BLINDED BY FAWNING PAROCHIALISM and BIGOTRY that he is TOO BLIND TO SEE?

      WAS IT ONLY ONE ELECTION YOU VOTED IN SINCE 2008, willi? Dat Y commie Ralph should forget about clueless ACOLYTES like unno.

      TELL ME, was it YOU the same guy called Horace Williams who uses to write letter-Columns on the website CARIBBEAN NEWS NOW ?

      And, didn’t Mr. MARKIE SPRING also a REGULAR WRITER ON THAT same site, CNN ?

      Wey happen to alyo relationship, Bro ? Imagine, two expatriate Vincies doing such fine columns on one of the most prominent Caribbean-wide news website!

      DID YOU, my dear countryman Horace WILLIAMS, while still a fellow ‘columnist’ on the CNN WEBSITE with Mr. Markie SPRING, write underhand, derogatory, anonymous SCURRILOUS ATTACKS on Mr. Springs’ REGULAR COLUMN on CNN.COM ?

      Did you, in doing that, while still a regular/favoured fellow-writer for the CNN site, USE VARIOUS and NUMEROUS false names, ‘pen-names’, nomme de plumes in order to HIDE AND DISGUISE YOUR OFTEN UNFAIR, DEMEANING, PUT-DOWN even PERSONAL ATTACKS ON Mr. SPRING?

      DID the CNN powers-that-be BANN YOU or otherwise SANCTION YOU, even OMITTING YOU FROM THEIR COLUMNISTS’ LINE-UPS?

      Did YOU, Mr. Horace Williams MAKE A LOT OF SPURRIOUS FALSE CLAIMS ABOUT YOUR SUPPOSED HIGHEST LEVEL OF EDUCATION AT PROMINENT BRITISH UNIVERSITIES ?

      Did you make FALSE CLAIMS about ATTENDANCE AND GRADUATION at British Universities EVEN RALPH GONSALVES COULDN’T EVEN SEE, much less attend? Indeed, I responded that I had had close relatives attending CAMBRIDGE and OXFORD, even LONDON – – – and none of them even noted a whiff about you. One of my forbears, also, studied at GLASGOW, and was HONOURED by EDINBURGH. But, a word of any Horace Williams from St.Vincent, West Indies, before spending the rest of his working life in St.Vincent, Antiqua, and Trinidad. Oh, eminent Vincentian author and TV personality, ORDE COOMBS was our neighbour here at North Grand Sable River, and was specifically motivated by one of my family achieving a Cambridge University first degree. Read the rest of his story in DO YOU SEE MY LOVE FOR YOU GROWING, if you haven’t done so already.

      OR, is it a CASE where you were THAT GUY FROM SVG named SIMON ANDERSON WHO GRADUATED WITH HIGHEST HONOURS FROM CAMBRIDGE, a feat which even your commie comrade wasn’t able to do?

      WERE YOU THAT PARTICULAR svg national SIMON ANDERSON ?

      Was THAT YOUR ALIAS, Horace Williams ? Simon Anderson ?

      OR, pardonnez me, is HORACE WILLIAMS actually YOUR ALIAS, with Simon Anderson being YOUR REAL NAME under which YOU EXCELLED AT THOSE PROMINENT BRITISH UNIVERSITIES including Cambridge ?

      Please clear the air, Horace Williams OR Simon Anderson. WHICH ARE YOU? Are you ONE AND THE SAME? As a professional arbiter of students’ writings at the PRIMARY, MIDDLE SCHOOL / POST-PRIMARY, SECONDARY / HIGH, TEACHER-TRAINING, UNDER-GADUATE AND POST-GRADUATEEVELS, I fully realize that many of our compatriot readers are thoroughly confused about your phantom-like ‘re-appearances’ under the contemptuous utilization of so many names or ALIASES for just ONE MAN – – – WITH SUCH TALL STORIES ABOUT FALSE EXPLOITS AND DUPLICITOUS COMMUNISTIC ‘comrades’ so-called.

      Ah still scratching me ball head . . .

      Ah really hope you haven’t finally lost all sense of your real identity, SIMON – – – er, ah mean . . . Horace . . . TELL “PAPER” about your peculiar problem with names . . .

      ONE of your many false mouthigs were on psychiatry. Ah tink them dudes does claim that ONE SURE SIGN of the kind a prablem is WHEN A GUY LOSE ANY SENSE OF WHO HE IS and SUBSEQUENTLY PRESUMES TO ASSUME A DECIDEDLY FALSE SENSE OF IDENTITY – – – and VARIOUS FALSE NAMES WITH CONCOMITTANT FALSE DELUDED CLAIMS FOR HIMSELF . . .

      Well, yuh tink tha WE ARE ALL WRONG . . . but, THAT YOU ARE ALL RIGHT ?

      Well . . . maybe . . .

      But . . . BE REAL CAREFUL, me peculiar Bro . . .

      – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – — – – – – — – — -\

      QUO VADIS, my beloved Hairouna – – – SVG ???

  8. Arsing Richards, you show yourself as being a stranger to this site, or you are just ignorant. Markie Spring is a well known Vincentian in the Diaspora, usefully employed and respected. He is an expert in what he does and has a number of publications to his name. You like so many idiots believe that anyone with a different opinion to that of the ULP or its Marxist led officers, has to be an NDP party member. That is a long way from the truth with most people that post here. I do not even know if Markie is an NDP man, you assume he is. People must bring the truth to the people, regardless of how you feel about it.

    People call me an NDP man, I am not. But I do appreciate Arnhim Eustace because he doesn’t tell lies, he is a decent man and has never been charged with rape or accused of other sexual offences.

    As for dunce number 1, Horace Williams. Well! Well!, if it isn’t our old dog in the park friend, the Chihuahua owner, have you still got the little dog? still taking him to the park?

    Was it not you who we exposed? if it is, you seem to have got over your embarrassment in being exposed as a stolen identity fraud on this very site.

    So now you come here with your real name and still spout all your lies. Gonsalves first started promising an International airport in 2001. In the Election Manifesto of 2001, the Unity Labour Party (ULP) promised the electorate to address the problem of air access to and from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, including the elaboration of plans to build an international airport on mainland St. Vincent. So that is the first promise prior to the 2001 election.

    Again in 2005 he again used it as an election tool and it brought much international commentary when people claimed he was building a military airport because in a release he showed a photo of military fighter planes being refuelled by a military in air refuel tanker aircraft. You can see the photo at http://www.star983fm.com/pmairport2005.PDF
    [Kenton could you possibly display a link to just the photo? even show just the photo]

    If you remember the airport at Grenada was originally being built by the now dead Marxist, Maurice Bishop and the Cubans as a military airport. So peoples minds went to that.

    But after all that said and done Horace Williams, you come here and call someone else a liar, when in fact you are the liar.

    1. Assing Richards says:

      Who are you? Why areyou rebutting? I think you are confused, because you attacked the messenger in the most hateful way without dealing with the questions.
      You can say what you like, but as night follows day, all of you will pay dearly for the way you offended God by disrupting a funeral and drinking alcohol in the Church. You further compounded this evil display by continuing to justify it. Where is the apology?
      Don’t worry we will know after the elections.

      Finally, do you think you can let us know how much you contributed to the airport?
      Will you be using it when it’s opened?
      Oh and please don’t tell me it won’t be opened. That’s not the question. You are too smart to try that one

  9. Folks, you are all missing the point in this airport debate. It will not be completed this year, next year and not even after the first trial run. This airport will not benefit SVG for the first 20 years, because there are no infrastructures built into the equation. Who would gamble to invest in a project that doesn’t show it will be profitable? I am not sure where Markie got his figures, which show a profit for operating Argyle airport.
    What products or other material can SVG ship to foreign markets now? Nothing! So how in hell they will airport help the economy of the island? There has to be a two-way street for business in this airport venture. Product’s and material coming in and products and material going out. Presently there is no such plan in place to enhance such a view on the above, hence this entire economic dream is a nightmare.
    Folks were never against the airport. However they were against the lies told to them by Ralph. The questions asked are still outstanding, even though they have to go along with the completion of the airport. They have no choice because it’s their money and they are the ones who will suffer during those first 20 years, when no money will be generated from the airport. This airport will go through the same scenarios as the one in Bequia, built by Mitchell. There will be nothing international about Argyle – just a larger airport that ET Joshua.

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