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Eustace makes no commitment to airport project

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19.FEB.10

Editor: On Wednesday this week, at a press conference, Mr. Arnhim Eustace clarified his and his party’s position on the Argyle International Airport project. One thing is clear: He has no commitment to continuing this international airport project.{{more}}

What did he actually say? In summary, he promised three things. First, he will get some international consultants to review the Argyle airport project; secondly, he promised to seek alternative sources of financing, and thirdly he will discuss the findings of the consultants with Vincentians at home and abroad. And that’s it.

So, perhaps, until his next clarification, no one can ever say that the leader of the NDP, Mr. Arnhim Eustace, promised Vincentians to continue building the Argyle international airport.

One is left to wonder, though, from which planet doth this man come. Does he not already know that the overwhelming majority of Vincentians, at home and abroad, want this international airport? In fact, he himself, at the beginning of his speech, recounted several reasons why he thinks Vincentians would like to have this international airport. If he knows this, why then does he feel the need to ask us again? Is it not clear to him?

I suspect this press conference was initiated, not by him, but by high ranking party officials who want him to change his long-held angry position against the airport. His party knows that Vincentians, in general, want their airport. And the party dearly wants him to make a statement, if only as a platitude to Vincentians, to say that the NDP will continue the airport, if it wins the next election.

But Mr. Eustace appears to be a man to his word. He has always said that the Argyle Airport is too expensive for Vincentians, and that he would support it, if and only if, we get all grant financing. He has said he does not believe that any international funding agency will put their money into our airport.

Indeed, he made this point just three short weeks ago on a Television programme when he was being interviewed by Mr. Jerry George. Mr. George asked Mr Eustace whether his party, if it wins, will continue the Argyle airport, if Cuba and Venezuela pull out. Mr. Eustace clearly said: “That would be the end of the project”. When pressed on the issue of alternative funding, Mr. Eustace asked: “From where?” This question clearly brings home the point that he does not believe that any international financial institutions will fund our airport project. So now, he needs to say what his alternative sources of financing are.

But we know he has no idea where to turn for help with this project. And that is partly why he has this long-held position against it. It is a bit too late now for Mr. Eustace to try and change his position on the project and be taken seriously. So he remains non-committal.

If his party members want to say, as NDP Chairman Dr. Linton Lewis said, that they will review the airport project, with a view to continuing it, then let him/them say so. But the leader of the NDP, Mr. Arnhim Eustace, would not say so. He gives no commitment, whatsoever, to continuing the Argyle Airport Project. If, God forbids, he wins, we can’t say he didn’t warn us.

There are two things that I am certain of. One is that Mr. Eustace is much too proud to go around the world, as Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves does, asking for help with the Argyle international airport and other projects that are of importance to this country.

The second is that, the more Mr. Eustace speaks, the more his party must be wishing he remains quiet. He is truly ruining their chances of winning the next general election.

An Informed Observer

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