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$21 million boost for Coast Guard


The Coast Guard will be given a $21 million injection over the next four years and the Italian State Agency, SACE is expected to partner with the Government on the project.

At a recent press conference, where the agreement which brought an end to the saga of the failed investment between the Sir James Mitchell led administration and Italian businessman Dr Aldo Rolla was signed, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced that SACE was now willing to enter into a new partnerships with the Government.{{more}}

The Ottley Hall Marina project went bust and left St Vincent and the Grenadines in debt of about US$70 million, and the Prime Minister said that he was glad it was finally coming to an end.

“Now we could enter into a new partnership with SACE based on projects that we can come to the Country with great transparency,” the Prime Minister said.

Included in the Coast Guard upgrade project is a plan to purchase two vessels from a Dutch Company.

Dr Gonsalves explained, as SACE’s representative Micheal Ron nodded in agreement, that SACE wanted to get involved in the Argyle International Airport project but he however explained that the funding for the airport was in order – except for “a few small areas of financing.”

SEARCHLIGHT spoke to the Director of the International Airport Development Company (IADC) Dr Rudy Matthias who confirmed that only phase three of the project is open for investment.

Phase Three consists mainly of the paving works, including the paving of the runway, and is estimated to cost US$15 million. Dr Matthias said that help for this phase of the $200 million US project will be coming from Venezuela and Mexico – the latter in two aspects.

Mexico will sell cement for the project at cost price while they are expected to also make a financial contribution to the project, Dr Matthias said.

The first phase of the project, which is expected to cost about EC$90 million, is the acquisition of 133 built residential and commercial properties in the Argyle Area. This phase is near completion, and the earth works are expected to get going by July this year.

The final phase, which includes the construction of the terminal building and the installation of all the support systems, will be funded by the Taiwanese Government.

US$15 million will take the form of a grant while US$10 million would be in the form of a soft loan. This agreement was signed last June during Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ visit to Taiwan.