The international airport being constructed at Argyle is “really in the terminal stages”, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said this week, but, again, stopped short of saying when the airport, which is five years behind schedule, will begin operating.

“I want to report that in relation to the airport, we are really in the terminal stages. The opening of the airport is imminent. The reason why I am not giving a date is simply because, over the last five, six weeks, we have had real problems with the rainfall,” he told the media on Monday.

Gonsalves’ comments come six months after Rudy Matthias, head of the state-owned company building the airport, said that it would have been completed by the end of May 2016, regardless of the weather.

Gonsalves said that his government has “an engineering solution” for the section of the road outside the airport that collapsed earlier this month for the second time in two years.

“They are digging out and they are doing certain things because there are problems of a spring above and lots of technical issues,” he said.

He, however, told the media that on Sunday, though it wasn’t raining, work had to stop because the trucks were getting stuck where they were dumping the material dug out from where the road collapsed.

“And if they can’t remove the material which they were digging out, they just couldn’t go ahead and do it. So that even when you see the sun is out, because the rain has fallen, they can’t do the works which are required to be done,” Gonsalves said.

He, however, said a lot of work is being done otherwise at the airport.

“And we have had a lot of meetings,” he said, adding that last week Friday he had a meeting with all the relevant stakeholders and got all the reports.

“I had a meeting separately with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority. But, because of the rain, I really can’t give you, say — I can’t say to you it’s the 15th of December or 15th of January [that the airport will begin operating] because the rain is just holding us up.

“But I just want to tell you that the opening is imminent. We are coming to the end of the construction and the commencement of the operation.  There are a lot of details which are being worked out. Many, many details; small details, but vital to be worked out.”

He said the idea his government has is that the airport will begin operating in the first months with regional carrier, LIAT, and global cargo courier, AmeriJet and chartered flights landing at the airport “‘till all the systems are in place.

“And I know that persons are involved in discussions and negotiations with airlines for regular flights from overseas,” he said of the team being lead by head of the Tourism Authority, Glen Beache.

“… naturally, we want to have all the kinks ironed out for the operations and for the people to have  — the international carriers to have them in the system and they have to have a lead time in the system for tickets and the like.

“So, we have been at this, it has been a magnificent achievement thus far; even St. Clair Leacock said it’s a near miracle as to what we have done, which is true,” he said in reference to a statement that the Central Kingstown MP, and opposition lawmaker, made in Parliament last year.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been impacted by heavy rains over the past few weeks. The rains have resulted in floods and landslide and damage to houses and public infrastructure.

“We have been blessed and we just have to live with the rain. We’ve had a lot of rain over the last three, four years, and especially over the last several weeks, but we accept our climate condition and we just have to work with it. I just wanted to make that point for persons who are hoping that we will make an announcement shortly,” Gonsalves said.

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9 replies on “Rain preventing announcement of airport opening date — PM ”

  1. But it is the rainy season it happens every year surely this would have been part of any development plan and its schedules.

    Rain is an excuse, like it is an excuse for Vincentians not to go to work and spend the day in a rum shop or sleep all day.

    Argyle will always have a rain and flooding problem, and the swamps will return and devour parts of the airport.

    Argyle will allways have dangerous wind conditions and sea blast so severe it will damage all the aircraft belonging to our little air companies.

    The fences will rust and the steel in the buildings will rust and the runway will deteriate as the grooves they have cut in the tarmac colapes every 24 months requiring resurfacing.

    1. Patrick Ferrari says:

      Development plan? After the first week, they discovered that they were short of 30 acres. And it was a lawyer who spotted the mistake.

      What development plan, Peter?

      1. Precisely Patrick that is why I said “But it is the rainy season it happens every year surely this would have been part of any development plan and its schedules.”

        “This would have been” being the operative point. Because there was no plan except in the mind of one very silly man.

        According to an airport consultant I talked with recently he says that the airport lacks enough space to build a hanger and repair shop that can facilitate a 747. Or something half that size even. Because airlines want to know wherever they land there is a workshop where they can change an engine. In particular those aircraft with only two big engines. They can land on one engine but find it difficult to take off on one engine.

  2. Let us not forget that not a single critic of the construction of Argyle airport save one — Peter Binose, who has repeatedly claimed that the airport would never meet external certification standards because of the improper construction of the runway, among other considerations — has denied that the airport would someday see the flight of planes, including LIAT and AmeriJet, both of which already service Arnos Vale, as well as the occasional international charter flight.

    What we have all claimed is that the airport would never be economically viable — in fact, that it would be a huge burden on our already troubled and indebted economy — because the amount of value-added revenue from its construction in the form of the growth of tourism and other revenue would never come close to matching what we ourselves have already paid out of local revenue and will continue to pay out of local revenue for its construction, maintenance, operation, and debt servicing.

  3. Are they actually saying if it rains every day for the next two years they will not be able to put the airport into operation during that 2 years.

    Or is Gonsalves saying that unless he can hold a ULP rally at the same time of opening on a nice sunny day he will not open the airport.

    Everything this man does has to be for him, not the people for him, he wants to be a hero.

  4. Strange that after Obama made half-friends with Cuba the Airlines were landing there in a few weeks. Why is it taking years for SVG to negotiate airlines coming here?

  5. mitch@htgt.co.uk says:

    Really impressed with the comments of the Prime Minister . Another display of his incompetence and how he has let down the whole population of SVG . Employ the correct people listening to advice , not just the thoughts selfish reasons of his party members would be a good start in getting SVG back on track and bringing some prosperity to the region .

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