May 19, 2006

Gonsalves seeking more airport funds

While preparations for 2006 Carnival gain momentum, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will pursue a different agenda. In early June, he is expected to make a trip to the South Asian nations of Taiwan and Malaysia.

The focus of the mission will be to finalise funding arrangements from the respective governments for the construction of the International Airport slated for Argyle on mainland St. Vincent.{{more}}

The Prime Minister disclosed his itinerary at Cabinet Room last Wednesday. The Chairman of the International Airport Development Company, Dr. Rudy Matthias will accompany the Prime Minister on the South Asian visit.

One week will be spent in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei. Dr. Gonsalves spoke of pledges by President Chen Shui Bian made during his visit to SVG last year.

Efforts to get the Argyle Airport going will then move to Malaysia. This visit comes on the heels of a trip here by that country’s Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi earlier this month. Badawi committed his country’s assistance to the airport project while here.

The Malaysian Airport Authority and the government were cited as sources of support for the Argyle Airport. Dr. Gonsalves spoke of plans “where we can work out precise numbers,” with his Malaysian counterparts.

Dr. Gonsalves announced the hope of “success” on his return from South Asia.

Taiwanese Ambassador Jack Chen, also present in Cabinet Room, underlined the importance of the airport to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “We will work out a nice project for St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he assured.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves unveiled plans for the construction of the Argyle Airport August 8, 2005. Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago have also been named in a “coalition of the willing” to assist with the airport construction.