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Field of dreams

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EDITOR:

I congratulate the Prime Minister for a huge step forward in making secondary school education available to all Vincentians however if our P.M. believes that by building an international jetport at Argyle, tourists will flock to this country this is truly a field of dreams.

They will not come, because no airline will ever land a single jumbo jet here. Has our P.M. asked the airlines about this? In order for 747s to land, they need to be full, and take off full as well. Vincentians, can you imagine this happening in 2011? {{more}}Does our leader have a plan on where to put these thousands of visitors other than a few hundred at Mount Wynne Has he ever walked barefoot on Mount Wynne beach at 2 p.m., when the temperature of the volcanic black sand will burn tourists’ feet?

Our hotels are not doing so well in the off-season. In Bequia, the island’s premiere hotel, the Plantation House, has been closed for four years except for 100 days last season. This is not because of the lack of an international jetport, it is due to competition, poor management, and poor marketing.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines offers a DIFFERENT tourist destination from the MASS MARKET. We must seek to view our lack of a jet port as a strength, not a weakness because there is a huge market out there for alternative vacationers – scuba divers, sailors, hikers, nature lovers, bikers, campers, and Eco-tourists. These people do not want St. Vincent to try and imitate Barbados’ approach to tourism and would flock to St. Vincent right now if they even knew where we were and if Vincentians enhanced our tourist product.

We don’t need high rise hotels on the beach, these are ecological disasters waiting to happen.

Our attitudes must change as well. Vincentians must teach their children not to beg tourists for a dollar, encourage locals to build guesthouses and be creative. For instance, where in this country is a flat camping ground with toilets and water? If someone tried it, they would have an ideal spot for a restaurant and bar, with a built-in clientele.

As for the bogus argument that Vincentians in New York crave an international jetport, this is ridiculous. They can change planes in San Juan, Barbados, or Antigua and arrive in St. Vincent before darkness falls.

We do NOT need a jetport at Argyle. We do NOT need to lend this government the money from our retirement funds at N.I.S.

We do NOT need to sell off our beautiful country’s crown land to foreigners to pay for a bloated

ecological disaster on our windward coast.

We do NOT need to evict people from their land and pay them a fraction of what it is worth.

I wish the late Patrick Hughes were alive to comment on this folly. He had the courage to sign his name. I am not so brave, therefore I remain just a

Concerned Citizen

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