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AIA will not be operational before end of 2018 – Stewart

AIA will not be operational before end of 2018 – Stewart

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As Vincentians anxiously await the opening of the Argyle International Airport, consultant engineer Glenford Stewart says in the professional opinion of his company, the airport will not become operational before December 2018.

Chair of the International Airport Development Company (IADC) Dr Rudy Matthias is, however, sticking to his projection that the airport will become operational before the end of 2016.

In a letter to president of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace, Stewart, a director of Stewart Engineering Ltd, said the several missed completion dates repeatedly announced by the IADC since 2011 is “symptomatic of gross mismanagement and incompetence.”{{more}}

In the letter dated September 27, 2016, Stewart gave 12 reasons why the airport will not become operational before the end of 2018.

These reasons are:

o Storm Water Drainage

Works at the airport have not been completed. Check the nature of the flooding whenever there is a significant rain storm.

  • Electrical Power Supply and Installations have not been completed. VINLEC is yet to complete the installation of ducts, manholes, and armored power supply cables, etc.
  • The facility is still without a permanent water supply installation from CWSA.

As yet, there is no Central Sewage Treatment Plant for this ‘international airport’. How will the sewage or liquid waste from aircrafts be received and treated. How will the sewage from buildings and ancillary facilities be treated. Will it be to each its own for a modern airport facility?

  • Earthworks at the airport are still ongoing and there appears to be no systematic approach to completion.
  • The supply and installation of airport navigational lights have not been completed.
  • The security fence at the airport facility has not been completed. Substandard fencing material has been procured and installed such that rapid corrosion will demand imminent replacement.
  • The Terminal Building was built at least four years before it can be outfitted and put to use. It has been overtaken by dust and corrosion. Poor economic and physical planning, a lack of understanding and appreciation of the time value of money has been so obviously displayed by the IADC and the ULP regime.
  • The three Fire Tenders and two unnecessary Air-Bridges have been similarly purchased and parked for deterioration at least four years before they can be commissioned and put to use.
  • Access Roads to the Argyle Airport Site are still to be completed.
  • Essential Navigation Equipment are yet to be installed in the Airport Tower.
  • The certification of the airport facility by the designated international agencies are yet to commence. The process of certification is a very serious matter not only for St Vincent, but for the Caribbean Region as well.

Stewart, a former parliamentarian who won the Southern Grenadines seat on an NDP ticket in 1998, said the International Airport Development Company (IADC) and the ULP Government “cannot afford to make public any audited accounts of the finances of the project.”

He did not give reasons for this assertion, but said his company stood by its June 15, 2008 construction cost estimate for the project of EC$1,103,132,000.00

Yesterday, during his weekly appearance on the New Times Programme, Eustace described the promise that the airport would become operational by November as “foolishness”.

He said the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines were being treated like “dirt” and as if they have “no brain,” and had been fooled so that the Government could win the 2015 general elections.

“…There is no airport coming here now, to be opened now in St Vincent and the Grenadines; to bring a plane to land here once doesn’t do anything, except increase the cost to our taxpayers, because the money comes from the taxpayers to do these things,” he said.

He declared that the Government is involved in “foolishness,” including “wasting taxpayers money, no employment, increasing unemployment, interfering with NIS monies.”

He called on the public to let their voices be heard and for Government not to fool the public.

“It will all come to light,” he declared, adding, “The airport is not going to be ready for November.”

SEARCHLIGHT reached out to chief executive officer of VINLEC Thornley Myers, in relation of Stewart’s claim that the utility company’s work was incomplete.

“If the AIA were to open tomorrow, VINLEC stands ready to supply all the power it needs to operate. VINLEC has already installed what it needs to install to ensure that the airport is operational,” Myers said.

When contacted last night, Dr Rudy Matthias, chair of the IADC, the body charged with responsibility for designing and constructing the airport, had the following response to Stewart’s letter: “The AIA will be operational before the end of this year.”

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