September 20, 2011
Argyle airstrip paving to begin February 2012

Paving for the airstrip at the Argyle International Airport is set to begin as early as February 2012.{{more}}

This disclosure was made by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves during a press briefing held at Cabinet Room, last Friday, September 16.

“Early next year we are going to begin the paving of the airstrip in the first half of the year… we are getting the asphalt plant, the stone crusher and we need qualified and professional persons to run those and to do the paving, which is a highly technical work to do the paving of an international airport,” he said.

The Prime Minister, along with two other members of Cabinet and members of business community recently journeyed to Cuba, with one of the main purposes of the visit being the recruitment of those professionals.

It was further disclosed that a team comprising 70 persons will be engaged in the paving of the airstrip.

Thirty-eight of those individuals will be from St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), while the other 32 will be flown in from Cuba.

“We are going to have four persons from Cuba dealing with the general administration for this division of the work. One person will be the head of the plant, two main specialists and a production programming and control person.

“There will be ten persons in maintenance. These include mechanics, electricians as well as specialized welders. There is also a production crew for the stone crusher, hydraulic concrete and asphalt concrete…

“In a summary we are having four persons in administration for the industrial area, ten for the maintenance team, two persons on the stone crusher, five on the hydraulic concrete and eleven on the asphalt,” Gonsalves stated.

Meanwhile, the 38 persons from SVG will have a set task that includes the stone crushing operation, the hydraulic concrete and the asphalt.

Already, there are five Cuban specialists on the design team at the International Airport Development Company (IADC), but PM Gonsalves has informed that he has requested an additional four specialists to join the team.

“We have also asked for an extension for the five specialists who are currently on the design team. Those extensions don’t happen as usual, but those new workers who we are getting, 32 of them could deal with this aspect of the work, which is very important,” he explained.

Dr. Gonsalves said that his visit to Cuba was very successful, especially concerning the airport project.

According to the PM, the Cuban Minister responsible for authorizing the 32 workers to be flown here to work on the paving of the airstrip, has given the green light.

“We had already given him an indication of what we wanted before we went up and they said they were pretty much on target with whom they are going to give to us.

“I was very interested in getting this thing tied down early, so that we know what we are about,” the Prime Minister said.

The Argyle International Airport is being built on about 175 acres of land, with a paved runway 2,743 meters (9,000 feet) long, and 45 meters (150 feet) wide. The airport is designed to accommodate jets as large as Boeing 747-400s.(AA)