By Mark Laporte
George F.L Charles Airport
Now regarding George F.L. Charles airport and the supposed discussions regarding selling or leasing the property, we better hear what’s going on and what’s going to happen, for as much as you want it to work differently, it is not going to work if it is sold or leased. The factors that affect the airport’s economic viability are bigger than just the airport.
The bigger causes need to be addressed and it can be said right away that those bigger issues need more than natural approaches in order to remove them. If the George F.L. Charles were sold or leased, blame yourself. We only have ourselves to blame if we do not learn the salient lessons of this economic crisis.
In addition, one can state also that, in relation to what we are going through, any leader of our people, or anyone who aspires to leadership in our country, ought to spend at least 14 years in homelessness and deprivation so that, when the person shall have begun to lead, he or she, hopefully, shall have developed some very important traits of character needed in a leader. Spending significant time in a homeless and deprived condition ought to be a required course for all who desire to lead us.
For economic issues, among other things, are to be addressed by leaders also, therefore if the leader experiences the conditions of many of his followers, it is hoped that he or she shall have been become more sensitive to them. Further, any true leader trained such a way would never produce the kind of economic theories that obtain today, the practicing of which causes so many problems and anguish to so many billions of people.
This opinion piece is written in an attempt to add to the discussions regarding George F.L. Charles airport, generally called Vigie Airport, with the hope that decisions as a result of our national deliberations on the issue will result that it remains in our hands wholly and solely. It must be noted that the essay will offer some ideas regarding George F.L. Charles airport directly. However it is necessary to view the issue of the airport within the context of our national economy as well as within the framework of some of the main issues at work within the global economic environment. Therefore it is hoped that the essay will reflect this.
It ends with a suggestion to visit and research a rather ancient model of nation building. An attempt is made to add some humour to an otherwise serious discussion, for example the subtitle: crab economics.
It will serve us well to observe the results of the transformation of Luis Muñoz-Marin Internacional airport in Puerto Rico into a public-private partnership and, as this lengthy piece is being edited, it is noticed that the Iberian airlines counter at this airport is removed. This airline is no longer flying into San Juan. Avianca Taca, a Colombian airline will soon begin flights into San Juan International. Rumour has it that Mexicana airlines will soon be servicing San Juan. So you see the play? You see it? What they require a private company to do we can do ourselves for ourselves.
Have a look at the route maps of those two airlines, view them individually then combine the two maps. Interesting isn’t it? All that is needed is a management company within SLASPA made up of local and regional personnel who are committed to our development, very Pro Lucian, which will be accountable to the appropriate minister. How interesting. Magic.
I envisage that there will be a 70% drop in visitor arrivals to the Caribbean from traditional sources.
Corporate jets will not park at Vigie just because they love it there. There must be sufficient corporate activity on the island to justify the parking of executive jets there for any length of time. Therefore the sale or lease of Vigie airport would necessitate the sale or lease of other St Lucian resources. It was our Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy who is quoted as saying to the effect that St Lucians are not strangers to difficulty. Also, this following comment is attributed to our current Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony: “That St Lucia has few friends on the international scene and in this hour of crisis they have all abandoned us.”
It is this very difficulty that we must use to extricate ourselves from the positions in which we find ourselves. It seems that difficulty is the means given to us in order to develop ourselves and our nation. Actually it is a condition which has been going on since the days of slavery.
St Lucia is in a serious condition economically. We are taught to ignore the handwriting on the wall. One is branded as being negative, if a serious, emerging situation is pointed out. We are asked: Why so negative? Why the negativity? We are told that, after all, God works great works in bad situations. We seem to ignore the work of that god was the aforementioned writing on the wall.
Belshazzar ignored a similar writing to his detriment and the detriment of his nation. God had worked that great work in a bad situation and warned him. He ignored it, lost his kingdom and died that very night. Daniel 5: 24-31. God’s so called mighty work was done with the least of fanfare in the circumstances that prevailed at that time. So are we ignoring the obvious writing on our national wall?
(It will be noted that many references are made to the bible; the reason is this: a large section of our people are religious.)
We attempt to castigate our newspaper editors; Rick Wayne comes to mind, for warning us about our mounting debt. We beg internationally, yet we hate and despise our local beggars. We look down on the homeless, yet we as a nation are headed to great deprivation. Our currency is being devalued while we sleep our way into greater crisis.
We are told that the same foolish economic crisis that now threatens to destroy our nation, is the same one that’s good for us; that the television set and the television mentality solves all problems, and that credit card debt is wonderful. It may help but one will still be stuck with the same payment that one couldn’t pay before.
We drool and salivate over economic masters, further inviting their contempt for us. All of this does not make the crisis go away, or prevent it from being designed and implemented again.
Previous: Part 1
Next: Part 3: E=mc2 and Keynesian economics and crises
Mark Laporte is a St Lucian writer and agriculturist, and a former teacher. He researches and develops topics of interest whether or not he publishes them.