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Argyle International airport is just a political gimmick



EDITOR: As the election race intensifies so many things come up for discussion that often one doesn’t know where to begin. However, I have chosen four topics that I would like to concentrate on as I add a voice to the political discussion in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

I listened to the Prime Minister on Sunday, November 21, as he questioned Curtis Bowman’s motive and readiness for the political system. He said that anyone who wishes to represent people must have his/her wilderness years and that Curtis had none. As an afterthought he dropped in Luke Browne’s name as a person who he said comes from a solid background of community service. The Prime Minister needs to recognize that even if Curtis has not had any wilderness years, his community service cannot be compared to Luke’s recent puny efforts at establishing a community profile. One of Curtis’ biggest kudos is the fact that he has lived in a tough neighbourhood called Shanty Town for umpteen years and has never left that community, even though he has developed himself to the point where he could have left for a more upscale area. Comrade has also forgotten Fife, Miguel, Charles, Browne and Caesar. What kind of political wilderness years have the aforementioned experienced? None? So how come we are expected to vote for them and not Curtis? The Comrade confuses me with his consistent inconsistencies.

On that same night (November 21), I heard Pastor Joyles strongly endorsing the ULP. Endorsing the party publicly was wrong! (The fallout will come, Joyles, just wait!) One must note that in church there are NDP supporters and there are ULP supporters. It goes without saying that Joyles’ statements will divide the church even further than it has been divided since 2005. Added to that Joyles made reference to the NDP as the adversary (it was not a totally direct reference). I grew up Adventist and the word adversary is reserved for the devil and his imps. Now the NDP is in opposition, but they are as much a part of government, as the ULP and ought to be respected. Why would one want to disrespect them by calling them THE ADVERSARY? Later on when an NDP government is installed how does one approach the ADVERSARY? Perhaps Joyles will go on his righteous authority and declare that the NDP is no longer the ADVERSARY! Who will the ADVERSARY be then? Joyles has every right to support the ULP, but he erred badly by publicly endorsing them, using langugae that denigrated the other party which is the “Government in waiting”.

Then there is the “Airport” at Argyle that is due in 2012. In 2005, I declared it a political gimmick and I maintain that position. Firstly, as a knowledgeable person I questioned the location and the alignment being used. We are building a crosswind airport at Argyle to replace the downwind airport at Arnos Vale. I am not sure which is better. Now let’s hope for a moment that my safety concerns are misplaced and there will be another major concern. We have received but a few pennies for the construction at Argyle and our supposedly biggest benefactor (Venezuela) is yet to put a penny in the project. So we continue to bleed money through our noses to meet the 2012 (or is it 2021) deadline. I am confident that neither the ULP nor the NDP can finish the Airport in the way that it is being done. How long can we continue draining the treasury or the NIS? I nearly said NCB forgetting that that cash cow is gone. Oops! I forgot the subscription type approach where we can drop our pennies into the Airport Appeal Fund (or Fun?). There is just so much state agencies (or us subscribers), can afford and in the absence of proper funding Argyle will turn out to be the biggest waste of money and useless (unproductive) disruption of human settlement ever done in St.Vincent. It’s too late to turn back now so we keep up the BLUFFING!

The much vaunted laptop project is another talking point. I should be laughing or talking myself stupid over this great innovation. Perhaps the fact that I am not doing so means that I am truly backwards (How is dat Blazer?). Just try to imagine at my place of work, not the whole population, but let’s say 150 of the students with laptops! Can you imagine the disruption as each one tries to show that he/she has the latest music/porn/everything? Oh yes! (and here my backwardness is acting up again) In Canada and Barbados and where ever else the students all have laptops-no problem. But how do we get there? In my mind I have the answer. Let the parents finance the personal laptops. And what is the Goverment’s function you ask? Simple! Ensure that the labs at school are properly equipped and maintained, provide training for teachers and maintenance personnel and provide incentives for students who gravitate towards ICT. This will be money well spent and the laptops provided by the parents will be much better appreciated and if they are not, central government would not have to fuss about the waste of scarce public funds.

From my experience the laptops will only be appreciated for a few very disruptive days or weeks and after that teachers will be picking them up all over the place (some in pieces) just like the free calculators. Ask any teacher how many requests to borrow a calculator they have to deal with after two or three handouts of the said piece of equipment.

That’s all for now folks. However, let me close by saying politics is an interesting thing, but please (and this applies more to the government than anyone else) can we make it a little more sensible?

“Backward Thinker”