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AIA: No tolerance for destroyers!

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I was at last able to use the Argyle International Airport (AIA) this week for the first time since its opening and, I must say, was as impressed with the facilities as I was with the positive comments of non-Vincen­tian travellers who also were high­ly impressed. The latter, more than my own impressions, no doubt biased as a Vincentian patriot, told me that we are on the right path and that “the game is ours to lose.”

A couple weeks ago, I had, in welcoming the airport and congratulating those who contributed so much to its success, urged that we have a national responsibility to ensure that the tremendous efforts and huge sums (relatively), that have been expended on the airport do not go to waste, but become a productive investment in spurring national development. That is not easy given our partisan political divisions which have from the outset made the AIA a practical political football.

Those divisions have hardened over the years so much so that persons who profess to be defending the nation’s interests, found themselves, wittingly or unwittingly, wishing that the AIA project would end in abject failure, as if it would be the party which spearheaded the project, and not SVG, which would lose. It is our airport and naturally our debt, irrespective of the political flavour of the administrations which will follow the present one.

So, we had the opposition to, and propaganda at every stage, beginning from the outrageous pronouncement that “no airport can be built at Argyle,” to all the ridiculous predictions about the supposed “faults” of the airport site and construction. It is left to be seen whether these “nay-sayers” will some­day apologize for their erroneous and dangerous statements. These include highly qualified technical personnel; where are they now?

Sadly, these attempts to portray the AIA as “unsafe” and even “dangerous” have continued, though practice demonstrates otherwise. The Midweek issue of this paper (March 21) reports on persons broadcasting erroneous reports that the Transport Security Administration (TSA) of the United States has “failed” the AIA after an inspection. SEARCHLIGHT has not only exposed this untruth, but in its Editorial of the same date, scathingly denounced this latest manifestation of “fake news”.

The grave danger in this is that there are persons among us who believe in these false allegations and who take them so literally that they are willing to carry out the worst acts to try and prove that the AIA is a failure, no matter what harm it does to our country and people. Among these are those who have been trying to wreck physical facilities at the AIA and to tarnish its image, to the point of even defecating and smearing the brand-new facility. “Sick” we may term them, but those who set the stage for such behaviour, those who make excuses for it, or are reluctant to condemn it unreservedly, are equally sick, more so, in fact.

In closing, let me recall a few sentences of my column entitled “AIRPORT SUCCESS” last month. I wrote then:

“There is now greater pressure on all of us…..to ensure that the AIA realizes its huge potential. This entails …..how we treat/revere the airport and its surrounding…..Will we play our part in hastening its physical deterioration, or will we cherish it to the extent of rebuking and reporting those who show scant regard for is upkeep?”

The choice is ours. We must defend our progress. The AIA is a part of that. No Tolerance For Destroyers!
 
Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.

 
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