Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves speaking at the rally Saturday night. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)

Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves says that the one-year-old Argyle International Airport (AIA) has progressed. St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as it is now “playing in the big league because we have a big league airport”.

He told the rally held at Argyle Saturday night to mark the first anniversary of the airport that Vincentians are living in times of miracles.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, said he could acknowledge the comments of opposition lawmaker, Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, that the realisation of the airport is a miracle.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Economic Development, said that AIA is the cornerstone of attracting businesses to SVG.

He told the rally that a major fisheries investment is coming to SVG and lobster, conch, and fish will be exported as far as Japan because of AIA.

On March 6, a major hotel chain is coming to SVG because of AIA, Gonsalves said, adding that call centres want to come to SVG because of AIA and more will be said about that.

There was a thriving call centre industry in SVG when Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party administration came to office in 2001.

Gonsalves said that AIA is the cornerstone of businesses importing more because of the larger Amerijet aircraft that is now used to service the destination.

He said that the EC$700 million airport is a symbol of what Vincentians can do when they believe in themselves and work together.

Confidence breeds confidence; success breeds success; and optimism begets optimism, he said.

A section of the crowd at the rally.

He said that the answer to the pessimists, naysayer, Scribes and Pharisees is AIA

“When this government tells you it has a plan, when this government tells you that it can accomplish great things because it believes in itself and it believes in the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, you must believe us,” Gonsalves said.

He said that when people doubt the government’s plans to build hotels and make electricity cheaper, “Tell them Argyle International Airport.”

The finance minister said that his government is working for a brighter and better day for Vincentians.

He told the rally and media audiences that the government said it is going to build a new cargo port in Kingstownand that when persons doubt the government’s intentions to build a new cargo port in Kingstown, a new city at Arnos Vale and a tunnel through Cane Garden Point, “Tell them Argyle International Airport.”

He said a similar response should be given to those who doubt Minister of Tourism Julian Francis’ announcement that EC$90 million will be spent to improve roads using the asphalt and concrete batching plants that have been decommissioned at the airport.

Gonsalves also said, “Tell them Argyle International Airport” when persons describe as smoke and mirrors, the government’s plans to create jobs in hospitality, agriculture, construction, fisheries, education

He said the test of building the airport – which opened six years behind schedule — has become the nation’s testimony and the airport is proof that the government keeps its word and that the Vincentian people and can achieve anything they set their mind to.

“And when we tell you that this government loves you and cares for you and wants the best for you and is in your corner every day of the week and they tell you ‘yo’ lie’, tell them Argyle International Airport.”

Argyle International Airport. (iWN file photo)

Gonsalves said that none of this would have been possible without the work, vision, creativity, courage and sacrifice of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

“We need him to stay with us,” he said as the deejay played the song “Stay with me”.

The younger Gonsalves, who is son of the prime minister, quoted US President Harry Truman.

There was a US President called Harry Truman who said, “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skilful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

Gonsalves said: “We have been blessed by the almighty with a courageous, skilful leader who seized a moment in time when he had the support of his brothers and sisters around the world and he galvanised the support of the Vincentian people to do what was impossible, to do what everybody else promised in the past. And we are grateful for his leadership, we are grateful for his vision and we are grateful for what he has taught us, over and over again. What he taught us when they said that the Education Revolution wasn’t possible and that we couldn’t get all of our students in secondary school, and he proved them wrong, and what he taught us when they said you couldn’t build a bridge across Rabacca, you had to build a tunnel to go underneath. He taught us. And if we didn’t learn the lesson the first time and we didn’t learn it the second time, they told us he would be a ‘one term papa’. You remember that? And he reach four now, and he could go as long as alyo (you) want him to go.

“If you didn’t learn those lessons, they all said this one is the dream of somebody who lost their marbles. This one can’t be done. ‘Find it where?’ Well, look it there! We have achieved the impossible because of his leadership and because of your faith and courage.”


  1. Good speech , I’m loving empowerment….. One thing I ask that the ULP reach across party lines and engage in some bipartisan politics

    • As usual I have to agree with C. ben on this one. AI, the ULP will not reach across party line on this one because they have made AIA political. That is too bad. The speech shows that it is nothing but a distraction, Yes, from the Yugge Saga, as well as the fact that AIA is not coming close to the millions of visitors they projected. The speech is made for us to believe that the ULP has made SVG “Great Again”. I think we all want the airport to pay for itself but that will only come if we make the country more attractive to visitors. Terrible Economic Policy with sky-high taxes for a greedy government is not going to encourage investment, nor will it reduce crime and violence.

  2. A plan for the AIA, with one international flight in 12 months? Will only believe when seen…
    Again, the wish is for the best,but somehow the ULP and the NDP have ,and continue to engage in practices that can be deemed misleading…With charges and counter charges, on a range of issues, the populace gets caught in the middle of hyperpartisan governance.

    • Riijord you may be right with what you said but I ask you this which country in this universe do not have some form of the elements you you mentioned, plus some more so than others. Right here in America the most advanced country in the world for the passed decades is filled with taint, deceit and corruption. The difference is in these advance bigger countries are the thinking and mentality of the citizens to control their own minds. People in these countries get up and make themselves productive and create means plus jobs to develop their lives so they can feed their families and some empower themselves to be rich and in the process the country gets developed on a whole.
      Camilo speak of this somewhat in his speech. The people of SVG need to take advantage of the moment and appotunities to create and develop their own lives and in the process the country will get developed and advance. Empower ourselves to be owners of businesses because when the tourists start arriving they are going to need entertainment, food, recreation etc.
      The people need to STOP getting entangled with political ramblings and commess as they say. This is why a lot of their lives are stagnant and dependant on a gov handout. Some don’t even know why they vote or what policies they party support or why. They vote for the wrong reasons or only because of family traditions and its a damn shame. Wake up before its too late because when the foreign investors start to one in and buy out plus open businesses you will be left behind complaining of this also.

      • AI, you have good intentions but the people of SVG will not make themselves productive. I am not talking about the fact that we have a bad work ethic, which is true. For change to occur the government has to do their part as well. they are supposed to be LEADERS, which they are not. They have a responsibility to create an environment of opportunity. This is done by making productivity rewarding with as little risk as possible. How is this done? (Not with sky-high Customs Duty and taxes)
        First: Customs Duty has to be lowered by at least 60%. When other countries that we compete with have FAR LOWER Customs Duty how are we going to compete with them?
        Second: Corporate Income Tax must be 21% or lower. Reason: the same as why we have to lower Customs Duty.
        Third: Too many employed in the Public Service.
        We will never go anywhere if we cannot export. When the greed of our Government believes we will become a wealthy nation by continually raising taxes we destroy productivity. There is so much more but ponder these things for starters.
        Camillo, like his father, is a “lead from behind” leader. He tells others to be leaders and do great things so he can just take and take and take from them, including the credit. Ralph Gonsalves HAS done some GOOD THINGS! His bad Economics has caused far more damage than anything positive he has done.

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