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Argyle Airport project having adverse effect on economy – Opposition

Argyle  Airport project having adverse effect on economy – Opposition

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Members of the parliamentary Opposition are adamant that the project to construct an international airport is having an adverse effect on the state of the economy.{{more}}

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, during his contribution to the debate on the Public Sector Projects (ALBA) Loans (Amendment) Bill 2010, said that there was concern expressed by some that a lot more emphasis is being placed on the construction of the international airport than anything else.

“And therefore, funding for the airport is impacting on funding for other activities,” he said.

As he addressed Parliament on Monday, Eustace asked a number of questions, including what was the current source of funding for the Cuban workers.

“We heard in this House before, that this was to be funded by Venezuela, but we are funding it to the tune of $370,000 per month,” Eustace said.

“Too many areas, we don’t have money to meet our needs and I want to know to what extent are we being impacted,” he continued.

Opposition parliamentarian St Clair Leacock, in his contribution to the debate, said that opposition members in the House have repeatedly asked if a memorandum of understanding existed between the governments of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela.

“Such that for anything to happen, the successor government can have something to see the seamless relationship with Venezuela,” Leacock said.

“Today, a project, which initially commenced outside of the oversight of this House, has been brought before this House, largely because the initial arrangements have fallen through and the ‘coalition of the willing’ have become apparently unwilling,” he continued.

The taxpayers of this country will therefore have to carry the project on their back, Leacock said.

“And I am not speaking lightly on this matter, because not in our lifetime or in 100 years will that airport be able to pay back for itself,” he said.

Leacock contended that, contrary to the opinion of the Government, the airport project was impacting negatively on other sectors, including education and health.

“More money leaves this country every month to go to Cuba than what stays here.”

“We are drowning in debt and generations to come will be saddled with debt,” he stated.

According to the Opposition parliamentarian, it is time for the Government to come clean in the House and to the public and to state what is the extent of the debt and how it intends to clear it.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has, however, denied the claims of the Opposition, stating that funding for the airport came into the country specifically for that purpose and that the airport construction was not impacting negatively on the economy. (DD)

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