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We Own Airport

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“What people want now is not to be tourists and visitors who are peeping at the Airport show and getting pep talks and cues telling us when to clap our hands because this is the most costly and wonderful and creative capital project ever. And neither do we want to hear Airport blues songs about the pain in the ass that Argyle gives to the economy. It is we who bear the pain, you know. That stage is over. We are ready to take off the blindfold from our eyes and see the reality. It is we, The Vincentian Nation-People, who are producing this International Airport under the leadership of a bumbling, partisan government apparatus and a hamstrung, confused political opposition.” {{more}}(Coalition for We Own Airport)

At our round table today, we have a coalition of our working people. They are young persons, urban business persons, working people from the country, women, and persons from our diaspora. They come to the round table with a burning intent to change the international airport from being a thing out there, a present that is handed to us. This coalition is struggling to mentally convert the airport into a precious property of our own, touched with our Carnival creativeness and our Vincy internationalism. Listen carefully to the new voice of the ‘We Own Airport’ coalition. (A Round Table creation)

“WE” Got Left Out.

Round Table (RT): Tell me, what is the ‘We Own Airport’ idea all about?

Coalition Voice: At first, when we heard about the international airport coming to SVG from Cuba, we were very happy and grateful to the revolutionary people of Cuba. We did not have time to feel any other concerns because of the excitement, It is only years later, now, that we realize that this airport project has left us out of the picture. Do you realize that for years, the airport never asked Vincentians to make any investment in, or donation to the project?

That hurt us, especially in the diaspora, overseas. And when things got messed up, we could not get involved, because we had no part in the project except as workers. We have decided that we want in. We want to help steer this important national project. It must become We Own Airport.

RT: But what difference do you think it will make to the actual construction work; if you get more of a stake in it, will it go faster?

Coalition: It will definitely go faster. Unnecessary mistakes and major setbacks occur in the project without public account for them, or any penalties or sanctions imposed, or managers disciplined. Politics protects the wastage from being cut out and set right. The ‘We-Own-Airport’ coalition, as an unbiased national audit and support body will make sure that the project management is transparent, efficient and productive. That is our pledge.

We Have Proposals

RT: You seem to have some insight into the actual workings of the project. Can you say what you see as the way ahead?

Coalition: When we look at the list of workers on the payroll, it is a shame to see how many come from the North Central Windward area. The hiring practices must be changed, especially as South Windward is an area with quite high unemployment. But that is just one case of the slackness in the overall pattern of things. On the technical side, we would call on our Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to strongly request the Government of the Republic of Cuba to kindly release the ‘Airport Doctor’ to return for a short-term mission at Argyle. We will select one of our own technical persons to be a counterpart colleague of the doctor.

RT: Does the Coalition have an overall vision of the international airport in terms of ‘We Own Airport’?

Coalition: To tell you the truth, it is the absence of a national vision of and for the airport that troubles us the most. It is very close in shape and substance to a White Elephant. Are we really building this so that our 150,000 travellers do not have the hassle of contact with another neighbouring airport? And is it for the purpose of building our tourist traffic, so that international hospitality chains can set up and operate their business here more profitably? Is the prospectus empty of anything about Argyle and South Windward? Is there no network of enterprise and innovation that can root the airport into the soil of our culture, our greenery, our production, our liberation? Are we just building a highway to the sky? No!

Our Coalition has to provide leadership in re-imagining

The international airport as a qualitatively new national investment, an upgrade of our productive forces, a Vincentian contradiction of the Columbus legacy.

RT: Thank you, Coalition, You certainly challenge our airport thinking.

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