Our Readers' Opinions
November 24, 2015
Eustace seems to be flip-flopping on Argyle airport every election

Editor: In 2010, TV host Jerry George interviewed Arnhim Eustace on the Argyle International Airport and asked him ”Suppose NDP took over and the Cubans were to withdraw their support and the Venezuelans were to withdraw their support?” Eustace answered “That’s… well, that’s.. that’s the end of the project!” George continued “So you won’t pursue finding other..” Eustace interrupted and stated his infamous words “Find it where?”{{more}}

Eustace also said in that interview, “The traditional sources of funding like the EU and so on not going to fund (it), because he (Dr Gonsalves) did not follow the normal process of feasibility study, benefit cost analysis and so on. He didn’t do any of those things… You know that (the airport) can’t pay for itself. You don’t need no study to tell you that. It cannot pay for itself!”

Now in 2015, when asked by journalist Kenton Chance about his comment that the airport won’t be ready until 2020, Eustace said “Not if NDP win.. when NDP win it will be different.” Chance asked him “What would be different?” Eustace answered “We will approach it in a different manner.. we will have to make the case to the international community as to why most of them put no money into the airport. Neither the Caribbean Development Bank, the World Bank or the European Investment Bank.. not one of them, (our) major lenders, put anything into the airport.”

So, in five years, Eustace has changed from a position that under NDP, the airport would not qualify for funding from anywhere other than Cuba and Venezuela, to saying now that his NDP will get funding from the CDB, World Bank and the EU.

Chance also asked Eustace if the NDP had a timeline for completion of the airport and Eustace said “We have no timeline with that now, but we will work with them to come up with a programme.” The NDP manifesto, however, states that the first step is “to undertake a thorough engineering and financial review of the project, to determine the status of the existing engineering design; the as-built construction; the relevant engineering issues; actual costs incurred to date; the existing financial arrangements and the projected technical and financial requirements to complete the project.

This review will be carried out by credible and independent experts. Second, based on the findings of the review, a master plan for financing, engineering, project management and operations will be developed. This plan will be implemented with the assistance of international partners and the airport will be put into operation at the appropriate time.”

So, the NDP will stop construction, take years to hire independent consultants to study the project , to negotiate financing to finish the airport, and finally to resume construction to finish the airport. That sounds more like 2020 to me. Eustace seems to flip-flop every election cycle on the airport, but while fool ah talk, fool nah listen. Clearly, if Vincentians want to see the airport completed as soon as possible, the NDP is not the government to do it.

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