February 19, 2010
NDP to study Argyle airport project

More care and consideration will be given to the development of the Argyle International Airport when the New Democratic Party (NDP) takes office.{{more}}

“I am not getting involved in any fly-by-night exercise.

I am not on any friend-friend basis…. I want it to be clearly understood that we will take a professional approach to this.”

Opposition Leader and President of the NDP Arnhim Eustace said that his party’s position on the project is to deal with it with the greatest transparency possible, which he said is lacking with the current administration.

“When the New Democratic Party wins the next general elections, because we understand the value of the amount that’s already spent on the airport, we will appoint an international team of consultants who will review that project.

“When we are clear and they have their reports, the New Democratic Party will hold consultations with all stakeholders that are intimately involved, so that we can get a clear picture as to how to move from there.”

Eustace said that this consultation will also include the sourcing of additional and alternative funding for the project.

While speaking on the issue, Eustace claimed that the Unity Labour Party administration had not been truthful on matters concerning the airport.

He said that Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves claimed that the project was supposed to be a debt free project, but the government had received loans from the National Insurance Services, First Caribbean International Bank, and from Venezuela.

He said that these loans would have an effect on the country’s national debt.

Eustace also indicated that the absence of contracts and contractors on airport projects means that the government is clueless about the actual cost of building the airport.

“They had given us a figure of the cost; they started at $480 million and now they are between five and six hundred million dollars. They don’t know the cost of the airport!”

The Opposition Leader stated that it was the NDP government which had started consultations on an international airport in the first place, because they were concerned with the hardships persons coming to this country have been facing when they have to travel from international destinations.

“We will not ignore this project. We will approach it with transparency and accountability which the public deserves.”