A section of the Reclamation Site in Kingstown, with Chinatown in the forefront. (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 [email protected].

In what appears to be a crude attempt to shore up his declining political base in advance of the upcoming election, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has just announced that an agreement has been signed with some unknown group of Canadian investors to (1) build a hotel and golf course at Mt. Wynne/Peter’s Hope on the Central Leeward coast and (2) construct a tourist attraction around the Little Tokyo area and elsewhere in Kingstown consisting of a creative arts centre, small shops, a boardwalk, and a 40-50 bedroom hotel. The entire project, which he called a “huge investment,” is a result of what he claims is the near completion of Argyle International Airport (AIA) which he and his supporters have long argued will bring thousands of new visitors to the mainland of St. Vincent.

No other details were given, leading to a number of unanswered questions and issues:

  1. By all accounts, the proposed international airport at Argyle is far from completion, let alone operation, making this new project seem little more than wishful thinking or empty political propaganda.
  2. A 40-50 room hotel in Kingstown is hard to imagine with most existing hotels and guest houses in and around the capital nearly empty most of the year. Moreover, such a hotel would need to have spacious grounds and various outdoor amenities (swimming pool, tennis court, outdoor bar and restaurant, entertainment and recreational space, etc.) if it is going to attract many tourists, a difficult achievement in our densely packed capital unless tens of millions were expended buying up and bulldozing existing properties.
  3. Likewise a handsome boardwalk (which would have to be paid for by the government) of any length and utility would be difficult to imagine in a city with so little land that is not occupied by the cruise ship terminal and other docking facilities, and with so many unsightly government and other structures situated so close to the sea. Hopefully, he doesn’t have in mind replicating the funny little excuse of a boardwalk at Villa!
  4. A creative arts centre sounds like a good idea if run on a non-profit basis, as are most facilities of this type all around the world, but would hardly be a project a profit-oriented “group of investors” would be interested in.
  5. As for many “little shops” at Chinatown, we have a surplus of all manner of small businesses all over downtown Kingstown, most of which are barely holding their own.
  6. Overall, points 2-5 suggest that this proposed project looks like the same pipedream as the phantom city planned for Arnos Vale.
  7. Where at Mount Wynne/Peter’s Hope will the project be located? How many acres of land will be taken up? Will it be a room-rental hotel, time-share, or condominium? How many rooms will the hotel have and what amenities will it contain?
  8. According to the Prime Minister, the government would retain management (and presumably ownership) of the golf course and clubhouse, a task most people would consider ludicrous given this government’s inability to properly manage and maintain existing tourist facilities. Indeed, publicly-owned golf courses have long been sold off to the private sector all over the world because of incompetent administration and chronic economic losses.
  9. Most important of all is the identity of this secret “group of investors” from Canada we have been hearing about for years now. What experience do they have in the hotel/resort/hospitality industry? What are they bringing to the table as far as their own investment resources are concerned? What role will the government have in financing the project, lending money to the “group of investors”, or guaranteeing their bank loans?
  10. Finally, is the agreement that was signed a legally-binding contract or is it simply the unenforceable  “memorandum of understanding” — a kind of formal gentlemen’s agreement of intention and interest — that the Prime Minister referred to in the 2015 Budget Address where he argued that the “impending opening” of AIA  “… has drawn a group of Canadian investors to present a proposal to the government for a US$200 million hotel investment at Mt. Wynne/Peters Hope. Our government has accorded ‘approval in principle’ for the proposal. The government and the Canadian investors are likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding within a few weeks, hopefully in February 2015″

Unless we get detailed answers to all these questions and concerns, this project will remain in the land of pipedreams and phony elections promises.

ENDNOTE

This is the sixteenth in a series of essays on the folly of the proposed airport at Argyle. My other AIA pieces may be found at:

My other AIA pieces may be found at:

  1. Get ready for a November election!
  2. Lessons for Argyle Airport from Canada’s Montreal–Mirabel Int’l
  3. Lessons for Argyle Int’l Airport from the cruise industry
  4. Lessons from Target Canada for Argyle Int’l Airport
  5. Lessons from Trinidad & Tobago for Argyle Int’l Airport
  6. The Dark Side of Tourism: Lessons for Argyle Airport
  7. Why Argyle Won’t Fly: Lessons from Dominica
  8. Ken Boyea and the Phantom City at Arnos Vale
  9. Airport Envy Vincy-Style
  10. Fully realising our country’s tourism potential
  11. Airport without a cause
  12. The unnatural place for an international airport
  13. The Potemkin Folly at Argyle
  14. False patriotism and deceitful promises at Argyle
  15. Airport politics and betrayal Vincy-Style

***

C. ben-David

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 [email protected].

10 replies on “Phony airport completion election promises, Vincy-style”

  1. Luther Bonadie says:

    C – Ben,

    You stupid C- ben. I call you a DOG once before for supporting the theft of that TV. monitor.

    Now, today your are trying to be a expert on everything about the Argyle Air Port.

    By all accounts you are a foolish Vincentian, I have no doubt about it, I am ashamed to be call a Vincentian knowing that you reside there, supposable.

    By all accounts, your problem is not the Air Port , your problem is you have a ” jack ass” mentality, which I keep saying to you, and you head is so darm hard you cannot listen.

    You are a Jealous and a evil individual.

    You and that LAZY Eustace are two peas in the same pot, but, the pot has no taste, and who ever tastes it is going to spit it out.

    Listen, I want you to SHUT UP and say nothing that concern Vincentian people, especially that Air Port.

    Go and sit with that LAZY Eustace and both of you can sing lazy ” donkey cart ” songs but leave us Vincentian alone .

    You may smell your own S****T , please keep it away from the noises of the Vincentians.

    1. FYI ‘airport’ is actually one word. Your paraphrasing of a common idiom ‘like two peas in a pod’ is interesting to say the least. Such ramblings are always a delight to read as they take your mind away from more seriour matters. Best regards.

  2. CONGRATULATIONS , C.ben-David , YOU ARE CHAMPION PROPAGANDIST IN SVG
    16 Articles & Counting . YOU failed to tell the readers of this Newspaper the fact that the
    NDP was in Office for 17 years , and did not think it necessary or important to build an International Airport on the Mainland .

    It is quite possible that had the NDP built an International Airport , it may have still been in the governance of Cricket in SVG . History informs us that the NDP blew its chance to build an International Airport . So now you and others of your Ilk are upset because the ULP had on its Agenda an International Airport .

    Now that the Airport is nearing completion , You are beginning to Panic , hence your numerous articles badmouthing the Airport . The Truth is that the current Government is going to reap the benefits of building the Airport , among them will likely to be a return to office by the Voters .

    The NDP had that opportunity , but it did nothing ; had it built an International Airport , it is likely that it would have been in Office longer , but that apparently was never on its Agenda
    So YOU , are in the same boat with the woman who wished that a Tsunami would suddenly
    come and destroy the Airport .

    THE AIRPORT IS BEING BUILT FOR ALL VINCENTIANS , AND TO ASSIST IN THE

    DEVELOPMENT OF ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES . IT IS NOT BEING BUILT

    ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT THE ULP .

    Like the Woman who wished the Tsunami would destroy the Airport , You also have tangibly demonstrated that you possess a WARPED MENTALITY . Unfortunately WE Sadly have to put up with people of your Ilk .
    with People like you in the World

  3. Where is the outrage? Why is it we can’t agree to disagree with someone with out calling them names? The last time I checked anytime someone has to retort to name calling during a debate or conversation, it means that they have lost. By the way, I read C-Ben posting just for entertainment. ..

    1. Luther Bonadie says:

      Kalikcrick,

      Listen to me my friend, there is an old saying that ” the higher the monkey climbs the more his ass is exposed ”

      I hope you get my drift.

  4. petergriffin says:

    Kenton Chance you need to stop allowing some of these crap on your site.These postings are just full of hate and venom and derogatory name calling.Nothing to educate the readers.All these derogatory names remind me of the insults the PM usually give to vincentians

    1. C. ben-David says:

      No, let them speak for the more they speak, the more they hurt their own cause.

      In fact, some may even be NDPers trying to discredit the ULP for this is how nasty party politics is in SVG.

  5. To C.ben – David

    Please answer truthfully the following Questions .

    1. HOW MANY YEARS THE NDP WAS IN OFFICE ??????

    2. DID THE NDP BUILD OR CONTEMPLATED BUILDING AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ?

    3. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE NDP HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD AN AIRPORT

    BUT SQUANDERED IT ??????????????????????????????????????????????????

    4. DO YOU ACCEPT THE FACT THAT AN AIRPORT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE

    DEVELOPMENT OF ANY COUNTRY ????????????????????????????

    5. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT HOTEL DEVELOPERS WOULD BUILD HOTELS IN

    COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ????????????

    I hope that you will answer the 5 questions above .

    VERIDICAL

  6. C.ben-David

    I am stil awaiting a response from You , regarding the Questions I have asked , I am cognizant of the fact that you have written so far 16 Articles criticizing the Argyle Airport , and I have no doubt , that you are not going to stop even when the Airport is open .

    I have no doubt that the current installation of the Air Bridges , are a figment of those of us who
    look at the two websites pertaining to the Argyle Airport . I believe that by the end of the year the Argyle Airport will be open to the General Public , coming to SVG & travelling abroad .

    I will be awaiting your responses at that time , no doubt you are going to then write in this
    Online Newspaper 32 letters . Obviously when the Argyle International Airport is open Hotel
    Developers , and Hotel Chains are going to be interested in building an Airport in St. Vincent .
    The chances of them doing that will have increased because of the Argyle International Airport

    I would readily agree that if the NDP in its 17 years in the Governance of St. Vincent & the
    Grenadines had built an International Airport , WE would have had Hotels on the mainland &
    the Country would have been much more developed than it currently is . More importantly
    the cost of an International Airport then , would have been a lot less than the cost of Argyle
    Airport .

    The NDP unfortunately did not view an International Airport as being necessary to the development of St. Vincent & the Grenadines . It therefore did nothing , it is therefore
    not only asinine to now being Critical of the current Government , the fact that the NDP did not build an International Airport , means that it also stunted the growth of St. Vincent & the
    Grenadines .

    VERIDICAL

  7. C.ben-David ,

    On the 22nd of this month , I asked you to answer some questions in this Newspaper , since that time I have not received a response from you , and I know that you are not stricken with
    Writers Cramp ,

    The fact that you have yet to respond verifies to me that you are indeed a Certified Propagandist . Obviously your definition of Truth is different from many people , I however
    acknowledge that in a Democratic Society , people of your ilk , are always around .

    VERIDICAL

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