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A section of the "developed" north of Canouan. (iWN photo)
A section of the “developed” north of Canouan. (iWN photo)
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For the second time in just five months, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has complained that his government is not receiving much revenue from the private investment in the north of Canouan.

In opposition, Gonsalves had complained about the New Democratic Party government leasing much of the island to investors, but his Unity Labour Party administration put even more lands in their charge after coming to office in March 2001.

Now, he is complaining, yet again, about the limited amount of revenue coming from the development in the north of the 1,800-acre island, two-third of which are in the hands of investors, sandwiching the indigenous population in the middle.

The latest complaint comes even as the government has to spend US$40 million to rehabilitate the Canouan Jetport on which it spent EC$20 million 17 years ago. 

The jetport in Canouan is closed for night flights and all flights have to be approved 72 hours in advance as the government is working to rehabilitate 1,000 feet of the runway, leaving a usable length of 1,140 meters in the interim. 

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Gonsalves, speaking on radio, on Sunday, said that the Cabinet had received a presentation from Koch Consultants for a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) project “to do over the whole of Canouan airport. 

“Of course, they have everything to do it optimally. And for bigger aircraft and the like and do supportive work on the revetments, do some new things on the building, the fire and all sorts of things,” Gonsalves said. 

But the bill for all of that together is about 41 million US. So, what we’ll have to do, we will have to look to see what are the elements which are critical to be done immediately… 

“I’m very disappointed, I must say, in the entity which is functioning in the north of Canouan. 

“My view [is] that the letter and the spirit of the agreement are not being followed in any optimal way. That’s for another discussion. … We’re not seeing any money really coming in from the north; not anything significant.

Gonsalves said that Dermot Desmond, who has built a marina in the south of the island, “has invested a lot of money and doing a lot of promotion and the like. 

And we have to do things with the airport. But the airport originally when we built it, when you opened it in 2007 was 20 million US it took to build it,” Gonsalves said.

“To rehabilitate it completely 17 years later is going to cost twice the amount. If you are to do it in the tiptop that you may wish it to be done as the consultants put forward their own sets of proposals, the technical people Kochs consult,” he said.

Last September, amidst another round of protest about access to beaches on the island, Gonsalves complained that the development in the north of Canouan was not generating for the state coffers the tax dollars that the government had hoped.

“I must say this, I mentioned that there are many issues which are plaguing what you may call broadly, ‘the project’,” the prime minister had said then.

““For instance, for the last five years, the government has made hardly any money, a number approaching zero for alien land holding licenses and transfer taxes because there are properties up there to be sold and the developers are not pushing the sale. They’re just keeping the land there within the company,” he had said on NBC Radio. 

2 replies on “PM complains about lack of revenue from Canouan investor — again”

  1. Why is Ralph crying now after all the big talks about Canouan having the billionaires and Mustique only have millionaires.

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