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A typical Bermuda beach.
A typical Bermuda beach.
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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].

Bermuda is an isolated British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean 1,070 km (665 miles) southeast of North Carolina, United States, and 1,578 km (981 miles) north of Puerto Rico. The capital is the charming city of Hamilton. Given its geographical location, the “high season” is between May and October, a time the weather is very agreeable in its main tourist market, the United States, which nevertheless still sends about 85 per cent of holiday visitors to the island chain. Overall, Bermuda receives some 600,000 tourists a year — three times as many as we in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) — about half by cruise ship.

So why is this tiny semi-colonial archipelago (53 sq. km — 21 sq. miles — and 65,000 people) in the middle of nowhere with no winter tourist season — November-April — a time so many North Americans and Europeans crave escaping the cold to travel to some tropical destination, so popular?

Apart from its light pink (yes, pink) silky-soft sand beaches, the answer is its charming capital, Hamilton.

“Hamilton is not only the capital of Bermuda; it’s the beating heart. A picturesque harbour city graced with shops, museums, galleries and gardens, Hamilton is also the hub of international and local businesses… [T]he City of Hamilton has a colourful, vibrant character. Take a walk through this historic town and take in the sea breezes, harbour views and the pastel palette of shops, galleries and restaurants. Hamilton … and its nearby parishes offer so much more; intoxicating gardens, historic churches, and an interactive aquarium and zoo, and all rolled into one” (

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Together with its thriving financial industry — the number one income source — no wonder Bermuda has the world’s highest per capita GDP.


Hamilton, Bermuda
Hamilton, Bermuda
Hamilton and surrounding parishes.
Hamilton and surrounding parishes.
Ferry at Hamilton waterfront
Ferry at Hamilton waterfront
Elegant shops in upscale Hamilton.
Elegant shops in upscale Hamilton.



Meanwhile, we paupers in SVG have Kingstown, a once alluring little gem of arches that has been allowed to decay decade after decade since the middle of the last century. Yes, there are many new buildings, but most of them are concrete block government monstrosities such as the financial complex and the market tomb built during the James Mitchell regime that badly clash with the charming older stone edifices.

The unappealing seaside area in Kingstown.
The unappealing seaside area in Kingstown.










Rundown and charmless Back Street with arched buildings disappearing.
Rundown and charmless Back Street with arched buildings disappearing.
The dilapidated Little Tokyo area.
The dilapidated Little Tokyo area.







Choked Windward bus terminal and vendor area.
Choked Windward bus terminal and vendor area.


The vendor and traffic congested area between Back and Bay Streets.
The vendor and traffic congested area between Back and Bay Streets.


A member of Kingstown’s growing population.
A member of Kingstown’s growing population.



Rusty Kingstown wharf.
Rusty Kingstown wharf.


Which residents or visitors would thrill to the wonders of this filthy, crowded, unregulated, rat-infested, and neglected excuse of a capital?

How can we possibly attract tens of thousands of additional tourists to visit our homeland via the new Argyle airport when we have nothing to offer them by way of urban delights?


This is the 32nd in a series of essays on the folly of the proposed Argyle International Airport.

My other AIA can be found below:

  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
  16. Phony airport completion election promises, Vincy-style
  17. Is Argyle Airport really a ‘huge game-changer for us?’
  18. Has the cat got your tongue, Prime Minister?
  19. More proof that Argyle won’t fly
  20. Our very own Vincentian cargo cult at Argyle
  21. The missing Argyle Airport feasibility studies
  22. The world’s four most amazing abandoned airports
  23. Farming, fishing, and foolish talk about Argyle International Airport
  24. Argyle Airport amateur hour
  25. St. Vincent’s place in the world of travel
  26. Investing in St. Vincent’s Tourism Industry
  27. The Argyle Airport prophecy: what the numbers say
  28. Why Qatar? Why St. Vincent and the Grenadines?
  29. Did the IMF drink the Comrade’s Kool-Aid?
  30. Foolish words about Argyle International Airport
  31. ‘If I come, you will build it’: Lessons from the Maldives for Argyle Airport

C. ben-David

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

2 replies on “Urban lessons for Argyle International Airport”

  1. You mention new buildings in Kingstown. What new buildings? In the old days new buildings were constantly being built in Kingstown. There has not been any new buildings built in Kingstown for even before the current government. Singer built two new structures at block 2000, but that is not Kingstown proper.
    The people and businesses are so over-taxed that only the government can afford to build.
    Businesses do not even have enough to renovate.

  2. Patrick Ferrari says:

    C. ben,

    When the tourists do not come, they are going to blame it on the global economy of the 2008 time.

    When it comes to tourists and tourism, they do not have a clue – and do not care – which end is up.

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