Supplementary Appropriation Bill passed
June 14, 2013

Supplementary Appropriation Bill passed

The international airport at Argyle will get the funds required to complete it, following the passing of a Supplementary Appropriation Bill in Parliament last week.{{more}}

The Bill, which allows for EC$204,799,800 from the consolidated fund to be used for the construction of the airport, was approved after debate in the House of Assembly on June 6 and 7.

While wrapping up the debate last Friday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves refuted claims by Opposition parliamentarians that the government saw the construction the project as a cure for all ills in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

He highlighted a number of other projects that are currently being undertaken around the country.

“None of us said that it is a panacea. It is a project to facilitate social and economic development, and to interconnect us with the rest of the region and the world and to lift the quality of the lives of the people of this country.

“When I hear the loose talk yesterday, that we are not concerned about anything else other than the airport, it’s such a statement lacking truthfulness that it is amazing that it could be so glibly uttered by every member of Her Majesty’s Opposition.

“They are just foraging around, to find something to criticize the Argyle international airport, a project which they have opposed from the very beginning,” Gonsalves said.

The members of the Opposition had earlier walked out of the meeting, following an exchange of words between Daniel Cummings, the Parliamentary Representative for West Kingstown, and Senator Julian Francis, the Minster of Works, who at the time was making his contribution to the debate.

Gonsalves said that this move by the Opposition was an act of political opportunism.

“I am sorry they are not here…. Because I said yesterday, I was going to ask the House for us to have a division; let ‘every man jack’ stand up and be counted….”

One bone of contention during the debate of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill was the sale of 40 acres of land in Canouan for US$20 million to developers, of which $5 million has already been secured by the Government.

The Prime Minster said that he is fully aware that that land is scarce on the island, and he knows that a balance must be made between development and people owning lands, but there are some people who opposed the sale for their own personal gains.

Gonsalves again appealed to the public for their support of the project, which is expected to be completed and ready for use by next year.

Following the passing of the Bill, Gonsalves displayed to the House models of planes he said should be landing at the airport when it is completed.

The latest estimate of the international airport project is EC$648 million.(JJ)