Our Readers' Opinions
December 8, 2015
Argyle International Airport – another reason to vote for ULP

Editor: Sunday’s inaugural flight by a LIAT aircraft into our new Argyle International Airport was both symbolic and substantive. Its symbolism lies in the enduring promise of a soaring and limitless future for our people and nation under the wise and progressive leadership of our Unity Labour Party and the Hon Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.{{more}} But the substance of the occasion transcended its political significance: as Vincentians prepare to vote tomorrow in one of our most consequential elections in a generation, Argyle stands out as a conspicuous pillar of economic and infrastructural accomplishment for our nation. It is a powerful reminder that once motivated, we can literally move mountains to build for ourselves and our children a 21st century Vincentian nation that preserves our heritage and secures our future.

It is useful to recall that the seed of this project was first planted by the ULP in the midst of a global financial crisis, which began in the United States and triggered a devastating economic downturn throughout the developing world. As the Financial Times has pointed out, the Anglophone Caribbean nations were particularly hard hit by this Great Recession: since 2010, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda and Jamaica – twice – have had to restructure their debts and enter into programmes with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Others, including Barbados, were also forced to adopt austerity measures, causing social hardship and exacerbating already high crime rates and even endangering the health of their democracies. Government debts in the Caribbean as a whole escalated rapidly as a result of the crisis, reaching as high as 70 per cent of the region’s Gross Domestic Product, according to IMF figures.

But as Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves himself has often remarked, “a farmer who waits for good weather never plants, and a farmer who never plants, never reaps.” Despite the less than propitious global economic climate, our ULP government kept its eye on the prize and now, thanks to its bold and visionary leadership, Vincentians are about to reap a bountiful harvest from this international airport.

As I remarked recently in welcoming the Honourable Prime Minister to his annual Town Hall meeting in New York, our Unity Labour Party has guided the affairs of state over the past one-and-a-half decades with vision, and an overarching faith in our abilities and potential as a people. The ULP government has articulated and pursued a structured approach to engineering our economic growth, enabling our increased human and social development, improving our infrastructure, preserving our environment and building our national pride, identity and culture. Argyle embodies each and all of those objectives, and is yet another reason in an arsenal of many why the Unity Labour Party deserves our overwhelming endorsement when voters go to the polls on Wednesday.

Vaughan Toney

*Vaughan Toney is a Vincentian national, community leader and business executive based in New York.