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AIA will not be operational by year end – Arnhim Eustace

AIA will not be operational by year end – Arnhim Eustace

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Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace is of the firm belief that the Argyle International Airport (AIA) would not become operational by year end and this is because of poor planning on the part of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

“This project is now a national disaster and it is a manmade disaster created by Hurricane Ralph. There was no proper planning for the airport.{{more}} There was no real coalition who would be willing, with sufficient money to cover the cost of the project. There was no project manager. There was no contractor responsible for the project and there was no economic feasibility study for the project,” Eustace said, while speaking on the New Times programme on Nice Radio last week.

Eustace, who is also president of the New Democratic Party (NDP), reminded listeners that the airport project, which began in 2008, had originally been scheduled to be opened in 2011, but was pushed back to the following year.

“The airport was supposed to finish in 2011; that was the original schedule. Then they said it would finish in 2012; then they said it would finish in 2013; then they said it would finish in 2014; then they said it would finish in 2015; and then they said it would finish early in 2016; then they said we would be ready for Carnival 2016. Well, I don’t think Carnival come yet and so it goes on and on. What kind of project is this? The airport not going to finish this year and Gonsalves knows it not going to finish this year,” he stated.

Eustace also pointed out that many of the promises which were made by the Government at the inception of the airport project have not been fulfilled.

“He promised that airport would be built without increasing the long-term debt on this country, because you had a coalition who were willing to finance them on soft terms, on grants and so forth.

“If you go and check the speech he made in 2005, when he discussed this matter, you will find a lot of these comments that were made at that time. Well, I never believed that anyway. He has not lived up to anyone of those promises; that it would cost $480 million; that it would be built without increasing the long-term debt of this country; none of those happened,” he continued.

Furthermore, Eustace added that his prediction that the airport would cost one billion dollars at the time of completion will come true.

“The airport, whenever it is finished, will cost over the one billion dollars that we projected. I will prove right when I said some years ago that’s where we going end up,­­ over $1 billion.”

He also added that because of the increased expense of the airport, it would take a much longer time to deal with the debt which we have incurred.(CM)

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