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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.
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.

Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, an opposition lawmaker, has congratulated the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the impending opening of the Argyle International Airport, scheduled for Feb. 14.

Leacock, along with his New Democratic Party, of which he is vice-president, had criticised the government’s handling of the EC$729 million project.

Among other things, opposition lawmakers have noted that the government has not laid before Parliament any audited financial statement related to the project since its construction began in 2008.

The NDP parliamentary caucus, however, continued to approve loans for the construction of the airport and during the campaign for the December 2015 general elections, committed to completing the project, if elected to office.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Leacock said,

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“Mr. Speaker, I just rise to offer an unconditional congratulation to the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the pending opening of the Argyle International Airport.”

St. Clair Leacock
MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock. (iWN photo)

The statement was greeted with a smattering of applause from the government benches, as Leacock added, “We, on this side, have had much to say, Mr. Speaker, but I conclude by saying that a generation unborn would ask what were we quarrelling about.”

Speaking to iWitness News during a break in the parliamentary session, in which the Estimates of Income and Expenditure for 2017 were debated, Leacock said, “Credit should be given where credit should be given…

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“We have spent over a billion dollars and I have summarised it simply:  the next generation –, my children and grandchildren — will ask the question what were we quarrelling about, especially when they look at the comparison and the contrast between the Argyle International Airport and what we now have, the E.T. Joshua Airport.

“You wouldn’t be able to explain to them the difference.”

He told iWitness News: “People have argued, rightfully, that the ULP could be punished and should be punished for the significant cost overrun with respect to the airport. But that is all water under the bridge. We have to make the airport function now.”

The airport will open on Feb. 14 — six years behind schedule — with scheduled flights by the airlines currently servicing the Argyle International Airports — namely LIAT and Grenadine Air Alliance, in addition to air cargo provider, Amerijet.

On Feb. 14, a number of chartered international flights from North America are also expected to land at the airport.

This week — two weeks after regional authorities gave permission for operations to begin at the airport — workers were repairing sections of the runway that they had dug up.

The state company responsible for the construction of the airport or the one responsible for its management are yet to give an explanation for the repair works, the probable reasons for which have generated quite a bit of discussion after iWitness News broke the story on Wednesday.

Gov’t budgets $5.4m to woo int’l airlines to Argyle

4 replies on “Opposition MP congratulates gov’t on completion of Argyle Airport”

  1. Leacock has often been willing to step outside the party line when he felt compelled to, and I get the impression that, in light of recent events, he feels even more empowered and justified in doing so.

  2. The NDP will live to eat these words. Doesn’t the party know that the upholder is worse than the thief?

    And what has the ULP stolen? The chances to have used this $EC 1 billion in many more economically viable ways, the result being a host of lost opportunities for a better life for our people.

    This airport boondoggle will sink us in a sea of debt, despair, and destitution.

  3. Brown Boy USA says:

    I raised my hat to Mr. Leacock for being man enough to recognize that the airport has been built, even though at great expense and economic held back of other areas of the country. You can’t always fight over something that has already been completed. The time is now for all parties to find ways to make the airport work for the betterment of the country.

  4. What I hate about politics is that when you are in one party you are compelled to say that everything the other party does is wrong. To say congratulations on completing the airport is not a sin. We should all be happy that the ULP actually finished s major project. The cross-country road would have been a more beneficial project but that is spilled milk. Unfortunately finishing the project is only part of it. Hopefully most of all the mistakes can be corrected. We will not easily be able to orient the runway in the proper direction, but hopefully they can one day call-in a proper company to pave the runway to at least minimum standards. Another problem is to maintain the airport. The ULP has not been able to maintain anything in SVG, roads, Tokyo, schools, etc…. If they actually maintained things they would realize that it is more expensive to hold things to standards than they think. Other politicians, such as Obama let the USA infrastructure go to ruin so that he can wage wars and wars by proxy all over the world. Now Trump is stuck with Obama’s proxy war in Yemen. Trump thought he could end it with the recent failed raid, (that was planned by the Obama team). Poroshenko is now again killing civilians in Dombass, Syria, Iraq, etc… are still going, Currencies are failing. Politics is a real mess!

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