US$5 million boost for airport
August 17, 2007

US$5 million boost for airport

The flagship infrastructural project of the government, the international airport at Argyle, is US $5 million closer to becoming a reality.{{more}}

The Government of Taiwan has agreed to contribute an additional US$5 million to the project taking its overall contribution to the airport to US$30 million: US$20 million in grants, and a US$10 million loan.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement earlier this week at a press conference, following his two-week trip to Taiwan, Malaysia and Venezuela.

Dr Gonsalves said that this additional funding also came with the understanding that, “They will always look very favourably on further assistance to us for the airport project.”

A couple weeks ago Dr Gonsalves had said that EC $41.3 million was all that was needed to secure one hundred per cent funding of the airport.

That figure now stands at around EC$28 million.

Additionally the International Airport Development Company’s chairman, Dr Rudy Matthias said in a recent interview that the airport should cost less than the EC$480 million originally estimated by the Canadian Engineering and Consulting firm, Marshall, Macklin, and Monaghan (MMM).

Dr Gonsalves also reported that he has received assurances from President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela that the heavy duty equipment needed to do the earth works will be here between October and November.

Cuba has also organized the personnel who would be doing the earth works. Some 150 workers are expected to in St Vincent, but not all at the same time, Dr Gonsalves explained.

Dr Gonsalves also said that during his visit to Malaysia, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi agreed to follow up on prior discussions to have the Malaysian Airports Authority invest US$10 million in the airport. Additionally, consideration will be given to have the Malaysian Airports Authority assist us with the management process for the International Airport at Argyle.

“Of course we have to train our own people, and get everybody going, have a proper management structure set up for the airport,” Dr Gonsalves said.

“The existing management structure for ET Joshua and the other small airports clearly will not be adequate, structurally, I am not talking personnel now, for what we are going to be building at Argyle,” Dr Gonsalves said. (KJ)