The opposition New Democratic Party is taking to Parliament its fight for the government to account for the millions of dollars spent to construct the Argyle International Airports, as well as monies received under the PetroCaribe initiative.
During next Tuesday’s meeting of Parliament, Opposition Leader Godwin Friday will ask Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Ralph Gonsalves, about the monies spent to build the airport.
According to the order paper, Friday will ask Gonsalves:
“The International Airport Development Company has received hundreds of millions of dollars of public money to use for the construction of the Argyle International Airport. Will the Prime Minister please state:
“(a) How up to date the IADC is in filing financial statements at the Commercial and Intellectual Property Office;
“(b) When the company will be up to date in the filing of financial statements;
“(c) When the account or manner in which the money spent by the IADC will be reported to Parliament.”
The opposition on April 19 intensified its push for the government to account for the EC$700 million it said it has spent to build the airport, which opened on Feb. 14, six years behind schedule and at a cost overrun of almost 100 per cent.
The government has said that EC$400 million loans have been amassed as a result of the construction of the airport.
Also on Tuesday, Friday will ask the government about the performance of the flights it chartered from Canada and the United States to land at the airport on Feb. 14, when it began operating.
Friday will ask the Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Cecil McKie to say what was the final cost to charter Sunwing, CAL and other airlines to fly to and from St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the opening of the Argyle International Airport.
The opposition leader will further ask the Tourism Minister to say how much of the cost was recovered through ticket sales and how much was paid by the government, including government-owned entities.
Also, Member of Parliament for East Kingstown, Arnhim Eustace, will ask Gonsalves about PetroCaribe, Venezuela’s oil initiative with a number of Caribbean countries.
Eustace will ask:
“Given that no financial statements for PetroCaribe SVG and PDV SVG have ever been filed at the Companies Registry (CIPO), would the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance please indicate:
“(a) Why in the 12 years since PetroCaribe SVG’s establishment and the 11 years since PDV SVG’s establishment no financial statements have ever been filed for each and;
“(b) When will the financial statements be filed.”