St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and the Argyle International Airport (AIA) are featured in the third edition of a textbook, widely-used in colleges and universities in Canada, entitled: Introduction to International Development Studies: Approaches, Actors, and Issues, published by Oxford University Press in 2016.
One chapter of the book, captioned âFree Trade, Fair Trade, and South-South Trade,â in which SVG and the AIA were discussed, was authored by Professor Gavin Fridell, associate professor and Canada research chair in International Development Studies, at Saint Maryâs University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
In this chapter, Professor Fridell highlighted a âCritical Issues Boxâ on page 297 of the book, under the rubric âSouth-South Cooperation in St Vincent and the Grenadines.â This âBoxâ reads as follows:
âThe ârise of the Southâ has brought with it a renewed interest in âa proactive developmental stateâ not just among the largest southern economies, but also among smaller more vulnerable ones (UNDP, 2013:4). One unique example of this has been St Vincent and the Grenadines, where the government of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, in office since 2001, has boosted public spending on social programs (e.g. education and health care) and physical infrastructure (e.g., roads and low-income housing) to combat the negative impacts of the global economic recession and the decline of traditional industries, in particular bananas, which had thrived on the basis of a preferential agreement with the EU until it as quashed by the WTO in the 2000s.
âIn the wake of declining preferential supports from northern governments, SVG has found increasing assistance from southern partners, including through membership in ALBA. Most notably, since 2008, Venezuela and Cuba have provided SVG with millions of dollars of assistance and soft loans to construct a new international airport design to promote fresh opportunities for trade, tourism, and services. An estimated $112 million of this assistance â over 40% of the cost of the airport â comes mostly in the form of âin-kindâ support, including the engineering services, heavy machinery, wind stations, and an on-site laboratory. Additional support has come from other, non-ALBA, countries, including grants and loans from Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Iran, and Libya, and a free Airport Master Plan approved by Mexico (Fridell, 2013; Gonsalves, 2012).
âThe airport is due for completion by the end of 2016. While projects such as this may not be able to overcome the vulnerability experienced by small island states in a highly uneven global economy, they do point to new and original forms of South-South cooperation that challenge the northern-based consensus around free-trade, while supporting governments developing southern-based alternatives to it.â
In a letter to Prime Minister Ralph E Gonsalves, dated February 13, 2017, Professor Fridell congratulated the Prime Minister and all Vincentians on the âwonderful achievementâ of the Argyle International Airport.