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Government seeking funding for Arnos Vale Development Project

Government seeking funding for Arnos Vale Development Project

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St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), through Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, recently held detailed discussions on several projects with officials from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development (OFID).

The OFID is the development finance institution established by the Member States of OPEC in 1976 as a channel of aid to the developing countries. The discussions, which resulted in the circulation of an aide-memoire, was Minister Gonsalves’s first task as Finance Minister.

Speaking during a recent press briefing at Cabinet room, the Prime Minister said government officials have agreed on the need for two priority projects for OFID’S financial consideration.

The Arnos Vale development project is one such project. It has an estimated cost of between US$300 and 400 million. Project one of the Arnos Vale project involves the construction of a four-star hotel at an estimated cost of about $40 million. The proposal says that the Government will be responsible for 20 per cent of the cost, while the property will be state owned. Prime Minister Gonsalves said the feasibility study for this project was completed in August and the OFID delegation was provided with a copy for further assessment.

Project two at Arnos Vale involves the health sector and the building of a 132-bed acute referral hospital, estimated to cost US$50 million. The feasibility study is currently being carried out, while the design is being financed by the World Bank.

Project three at Arnos Vale falls under the transport sector and involves the construction of a tunnel. The project profile, which was financed by Government, has been carried out.

Dr Gonsalves also spoke about a number of other projects, including the Shipping Bay (Biabou) coastal zone improvement project, the modern port, the geothermal project and the Kingstown urban renewal project.

The Prime Minister said that there is a problem at Shipping Bay, where the entire coast is being affected by erosion. He said while he already has allocated some of the money to rectify the problem, the whole area needs about $40 million to fix.

“…and these are indicative numbers,” said Gonsalves, who also stated that he needs more money to address other coastal climate change and river defence issues.

“I have some monies already earmarked, but I need some more.”

In relation to the modern port, Gonsalves said that he has identified indicative financing for the US$100 million needed for this project.

He also said he has some resources for the geothermal project.

In relation to Kingstown, Gonsalves said he has asked for a project that looks for a complete urban renewal of the capital city.  

Gonsalves said he came to the people with several other projects, which he has already implemented, and he is trying to raise the money to address others.

“…What we say to you in the election, this is what we are trying to do,” said Gonsalves, who added that the Government is trying its best to raise the money, but at times has been affected by a number of setbacks, which include natural disasters that have wreaked havoc on us and sidetracked developmental plans.

“I had to find $100 million in relation to what happened last year (natural disasters). I have to be finding money for these things…when I hear about people saying they will do things different, I say yeah you might do it different, but you going do it better?”(LC)

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