Gonsalves has said that state-owned companies have enough assets to cover the EC$400 million in debt resulting from the construction of the AIA.

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

In his address on Jan. 19, 2017 at the ground breaking ceremony for Black Sands Resort and Villas at Peter’s Hope, the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), the Honourable Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, revealed something that Vincentian cyberspace denizens like myself have long known: certain individuals that he termed “internet crazies” have contacted international airlines and airport certification bodies warning them that Argyle International Airport (AIA) is unsafe for the landing of aircraft.

As one of SVG’s harshest critics of the need for Argyle International Airport (AIA), I wish to completely and unequivocally disassociate myself from a tiny Vincentian cabal of “Ralph-haters,” each deserving the prime minister’s “internet crazies” label, who for years have posted dozens of articles questioning the safety of AIA.

In the case of their lead poster with the pseudonym “Peter Binose” (among countless others, most recently, “Sandra Bynoe”), many of these Internet submissions were carbon copied to various named overseas airlines and airport approval bodies arguing that AIA would be a dangerous place for landing because: (1) the local wind studies were inadequate, perhaps even fabricated; (2) the runway and allied structures were not built to acceptable international standards; (3) the drainage system for the Yambou River running under the runway will eventually rupture causing the runway to collapse; (4) the whole airport would be chronically flooded by heavy rains; and (5) the remote Soufriere volcano will soon bury it in a sea of lava (at least if international terrorists don’t blow it up first).

My own position on the physical features of AIA is a simple one. Since I have no engineering expertise, I cannot comment on such complex technical issues.

Even so, I contend that the airport must have been built to minimally acceptable global standards, not only because it has been subjected to independent oversight during its various construction phases, but because if it failed to be approved by the regional and international airport authorities, this would surely end the long reign of the Gonsalves regime, a government that has vigorously paraded AIA as its legacy project since 2005, winning the last three elections only because it promised that the airport would be an economic “game changer” for our country.
The recent decision by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) to allow flights to and from AIA beginning on Feb. 14, 2017 supports this contention while suggesting that the hysterical rantings of the internet crazies are groundless. The pending certification of the airport by the International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO), which the Prime Minister claims has been overseeing the construction of the airport from its conception, should bury these mad assertions once and for all.

Or maybe not. Most of these Internet crazies are simply living in a Donald Trump-like parallel universe of “alternative facts” that no amount of credible and provable evidence could every overturn.

In the case of Peter Binose, his efforts to discredit the ULP, a party to which he is said to have been closely aligned with in the past, seem rooted not in a broad patriotic attempt to hold the government’s feet to the fire when he disagrees with its policies or actions but rather in narrow, hate-filled, hysterical efforts to seek revenge for the Prime Minister’s refusal to offer him a position as our ambassador at the Belgium embassy in Brussels. As they say, hell hath no fury like a “woman” (“Sandra Bynoe”) scorned.

I have repeatedly challenged Peter Binose and other Ralph-haters, almost none of whom have any professional engineering credentials, to substantiate their outlandish claims about the physical construction of AIA with at least some independent and verifiable evidence. In return, all I have received is equivocation, obfuscation, prevarication, personal vilification, and laughable charges of envy, grudge, spite, and malice.

While political zealots can be dangerous and though the most extreme of them may be sociopathic, the public interest also requires that their wild rants be constantly challenged by demanding that they “put up or shut up.” Unfortunately, none of them has shown the ability to do either.

Having said all this, let me be clear that I do not share the view of the editor of Searchlight newspaper that we ought to, “… come together in unity to celebrate the remarkable achievement that is the Argyle International Airport” (Jan. 23, 2017, p. 6) when it officially but deceptively opens on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, because I am convinced more than ever that this “game changer” of an airport is bound to sink us in a sea of lost opportunities, growing deficits, everlasting subsidies, and unpayable debts.

***

This is the 44th in a series of essays on the folly of building Argyle International Airport.

My other AIA essays are listed 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. 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
    32. Urban lessons for Argyle International Airport
    33. Who really lands at Arnos Vale?
    34. No ticky, No washy — Argyle-Style
    35. We have met the Vincentian tourism enemy and he is us
    36. Hotel Saint Vincent
    37. Why St. Vincent Island has so few tourists 
    38. Why Bequia is a gem of the Antilles
    39. Why seeing is believing in the Caribbean tourism industry
    40. St. Vincent’s cruise ship numbers are much lower than we think
    41. Lessons from Barbados for Argyle Airport
    42. Cuba’s tourism rollercoaster: Lessons for Argyle Airport
    43. What the world teaches Black Sands Resort and Villas

 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 news.iwitness@gmail.com.

9 replies on “Not all Argyle Airport critics are ‘internet crazies’”

  1. Tigers cannot change their Stripes ; and I seriously doubt that your attempt to change your views will fool anyone . In my opinion , you have been & are just as bad as Peter Bi Nose , to
    use a local Carnival Expression ” MAS A KNOW YOU ” . Some my buy into what YOU have stated here , but I aint buying what you are peddling .

    I sincerely hope that when you have written your 50th . Article you would cease & desist from
    being critical of the Argyle International Airport . Obviously there will be teething problems , but
    that would be temporary . I have absolutely no doubt that YOU & Others are going to complain
    about the fact that it aint going to be profitable immediately . I expect that You and others are
    going to be as usual carping about the Airport for years to come .

    1. I haven’t changed a single view that I have previously held in disassociating myself from the Internet crazies who predicted that AIA would never be completed or that it would never be approved for international flights.

      If you dispute this, please tell us which views I have changed. In other words, put up or shut up.

      The teething problems will be perpetual because no real teeth will ever emerge from their infected gums.

      In years to come we will still be one step forward, two steps behind.

    2. Dave from Toronto says:

      Why would you want to wait until his 50th article? I hope this mindless tirade ends right now. The garbage bins are already full. Where are we going to put the rest of the trash?

      1. Dave ,

        There are people in SVG & elsewhere wishing for the AIA to be a failure , he is one of them , They like akin to the woman who wished that a Tsunami would come & destroy the Airport , I have no doubt that he is of the same opinion as that woman , Also in the vanguard is Peter Binose who I do not believe is a Vincentian .

        Peter , I believe has a vested interest in the AIA being a failure
        because I do not think he is a Vincentian . HE has written many letters badmouthing the AIA , because he is afraid that
        his beloved Country that for years has ill treated intransit passengers ,will lose income from the fact that Vincentians will
        not longer have to use their Airport and put up with the uncouth
        Officials there .

        I get the impression that C.ben David wants the Argyle International Airport to fail , so he can write in this Newspaper
        ” I TOLD YOU SO ” . What I find troubling is that ALL the Critics of the AIA , will be beneficiaries of the AIA , it is not
        being built for only persons who support the Government , it is being built for ALL Vincentians & Visitors .

        Look , the NDP was in office for 17 years , not 17 days ; 17 weeks ; 17 months , but 17 years . Obviously the NDP had an
        opportunity to build an International Airport . History tells us
        that the NDP did not build an International Airport .

        It would be a relief when the AIA IS OPEN ; its Critics will hopefully move on from carping & criticizing the AIA , It likely
        will take a year or two , before C. ben David et al cease & desist from barking about the AIA .

  2. Agreed. Although the airport was built incorrectly according to the direction of the runway, the roads and location, some critics have gone ” over the top” in those areas. it is certainly unsafe for small planes at certain times under certain conditions, but real experts have to determine what and when, not bloggers. Of course it was foolhardy to build the airport incorrectly instead of building it as optimal as possible but…we never do things optimally in SVG, it is just not our way! For that one has to go to Singapore or Germany before Merkel.

  3. The word on the street is that Peter Binose departed from God’s good earth a few days ago.

    The source for this rumour? None other than Peter Binose himself using one of his numerous puppets, Sandra Bynoe.

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