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Letter: Foolish words about Argyle International Airport
Published on August 26, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

The August 19, 2016, The Vincentian newspaper’s lead editorial on the never-ending construction of Argyle International Airport (AIA) left me dumbfounded. How could the writer(s) be so naïve and ill-informed as to produce such an insipid piece of writing? Clearly, the lead editor must have been drinking from the same pitcher of Kool-Aid as the International Monetary Fund, which also baselessly championed the airport’s prospects for our development in their last country review.

The editorial focuses on what is claimed to be a slight “erosion in the level of public enthusiasm” for AIA owing to the constant delays in the completion of the airport. The only other substantive concerns raised are: (1) who is going to operate the new airport; (2) “whether the government is truly levelling with citizens, and whether we are getting a true picture of the actual state of affairs [of the airport project]”; and (3) “the apparent failure on the part of the private sector to make appropriate investments [in the hospitality, agricultural, agro-processing and fishing sectors] so that … the country can benefit from the operations of the Argyle airport.”

Beyond question is whether we even need an international airport, the assumption being that the answer is a self-evident “yes, we do!” Those who might question this truism are accused of “negative propaganda on the part of unpatriotic and misguided persons who could not distinguish between national interests and narrow political or partisan ones.” That at least some critics might be neither unpatriotic, misguided, political, nor partisan is simply inconceivable, according to the official editorial position of the newspaper.

This closed-minded approach has been heard many times before in attempts to shut down discussions of the feasibility of the airport. In the field of logical argumentation – a form of inquiry that seems beyond the reasoning power of the newspaper – this is called a non sequitur (Latin for "it does not follow"), a logical fallacy in which a conclusion does not necessarily spring from its premise. In this case, there is no inevitable empirical or analytical connection between questioning the viability of AIA and being loyal to your country or supporting some political party or the other.

Conversely, the editorial is willfully ignorant of the possibility that the construction of the airport may have more to do with the maintenance of political power – the continued rule of the ULP from one election cycle to the other – than it does with “help[ing] us to lift off on the road to modernisation and prosperity,” as if airport’s completion would necessarily have this effect (yet another non sequitur).

aia2.jpg
Is AIA destined to be always this deserted?

Indeed, support for my contrary assertion that AIA has been a constant election ploy may be found in the superficial contradiction between the fact that AIA “still remains dear to the hearts and minds of most Vincentians” and the unwillingness of our private sector to build more hotel capacity. Apart from having empty rooms much of the year -- a disincentive to expand their number if there ever was one -- our small local hotel sector simply lacks the millions in capital or borrowing power to make even a minor contribution to the success of the airport, the main reason why the government has tried so hard for years to attract deep-pocketed foreign hospitality developers. But what The Vincentian fails to grasp most of all is that as far as party-politics in SVG is concerned the “patriotic” masses have far more votes than the profit-oriented hotel owners.

As for the question, “Where are the investments in agriculture, agro-processing and fishing, all areas which can get a lift-off from the Argyle facility?” -- another non sequitur – I have already argued that all over the world most products from these industries are transported by ship rather than plane (Farming, fishing, and foolish talk about Argyle International Airport). Can The Vincentian actually be blind to all the container ships arriving in Kingstown on a regular basis loaded with fresh, chilled, frozen, canned, packaged, and bottled food from around the world?

There is also the factual error about AIA addressing the need for more airlift “during the June/July period, the high point for Carnival and vacation travel” as shown, the newspaper claims, by the stranding of travelers because of insufficient LIAT flights and capacity during the recent Carnival. Is it remotely possible that this newspaper is ignorant of the fact that nearly all international carriers either reduce or eliminate flights to the Caribbean during the low-season, May-October, in order to service the busy North American and European summer markets?

Still, the newspaper is quite right to question “whether … the government is truly levelling with citizens, and whether we are getting a true picture of the actual state of affairs” but was prevented from pursuing the implications of this query – for example, that the airport cannot be declared open for business because there is no business to open for – given its entrenched biases, ignorance of the facts, and fuzzy logic.

The editorial ends with one final laughable non sequitur: “We must swim together on it [making the Argyle airport project a success].”

First, Vincentians never “swim together” on anything (Who does not recall the analogy that accurately compares we Vincies to crabs pulling each other down as we try to get out of a barrel?). Second, the irony of using a swimming analogy escapes the editor(s) who seem to forget that this activity takes places in the sea, the natural and most economical route for travelling to and from the mainland of St Vincent. Third, swimming presupposes the ability to swim, in this case possessing the prerequisites for building an international airport – increased tourist demand; airline commitment; and expanded hotel capacity – none of which we now have or are likely to get with the completion of AIA.
***

This is the 29th in a series of essays on the folly of the proposed Argyle International Airport.

My other AIA pieces can be found below.

Get ready for a November election in St Vincent and the Grenadines! But which November?
Lessons for Argyle International Airport from Canada's Montreal-Mirabel International Airport
Lessons for Argyle International Airport from the cruise ship industry
Lessons from Target Canada for Argyle International Airport in St Vincent
Lessons from Trinidad and Tobago for Argyle International Airport
The dark side of tourism: Lessons for Argyle Airport
Why Argyle won't fly: Lessons from Dominica
Ken Boyea and the Phantom City at Arnos Vale
Airport envy Vincie-style
Fully realising our country's tourism potential
Airport without a cause
The unnatural place for an international airport
The Potemkin Folly at Argyle
False patriotism and deceitful promises at Argyle
Airport politics and betrayal Vincie-style
Phony airport completion election promises, Vincie-style
Is Argyle International Airport really a ‘huge game-changer for us’?
Has the cat got your tongue, prime minister?
More proof that Argyle won't fly
Our very own Vincentian cargo cult at Argyle
The missing Argyle Airport feasibility studies
The world's four most amazing abandoned airports
Farming, fishing, and foolish talk about Argyle International Airport
Argyle Airport amateur hour
St Vincent's place in the world of travel
Investing in St Vincent's tourism industry
The Argyle Airport Prophecy: What the numbers say
Did the IMF drink the Comrade's Kool-Aid?

C. ben-David
 
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Comments:

James H:

PAPA Ralph can indeed say anything and do get away with it Patrick! Has he not proved it to be true since he first gained office? But while you and some others have not been mesmerised by his smoke and mirrors tricks Patrick, many have been charmed, taken in, and duped by this dictator’s smoke and mirrors and more so by his dishonest gimmicks. The latest dishonest gimmick being the “Zero Hunger Trust Fund”. What a mammoth Scam! Another of his master stroke!

As one said prior, many of our fellow citizens are rather very simple and are quite easily deceived and duped. Their capacity to think logically are very much childlike and that could possible explain why this charlatan dictator was able to scam so many of them initially.

However, as the wheels begin to fall off his wagon and more of the population begins to realise that they are being duped, this miserable pretender uses the “Airport” scam to a greater effect on the simple and the unsuspecting.

The “Airport” as C. ben-David have observed, one would say (have more to do with the maintenance of political power – the continued rule of the ULP from one election cycle to the other – than it does with “help[ing] us to lift off on the road to modernisation and prosperity,”). It is not a “may” one would say but an observable fact, hence it too is another of the ULP’s scam.

Patrick Ferrari:

C. ben,

In all the years, we have had one truth concerning the airport. And that was in vino veritas. Hold the “vino” and replace it with “euphoria”: in euphoria veritas.

The past elections were held on 9 December. Nineteen days before, Ralph landed a LIAT on the unfinished airstrip and declared, “Well, the airport is, for all practical purposes, finished.” In nineteen days the elections were won. In two hundred and forty-nine days after, the airport is unfinished (and they are still borrowing more money – solar lights).

By proclaiming it finished, what practical purpose did it serve? In euphoria veritas.

Ralph thinks he can say anything and get away with it because he smart and we stupidie.

C. ben-David:

Patrick, I prefer "in vino veritas" because the truth is that our people are intoxicated by their own ignorance while The Comrade is truly drunk on his own power.

Meanwhile, we will soon be serviced by fast ferry access to and from Barbados, thereby making Argyle even more irrelevant.

Patrick Ferrari:

Boy, C. ben, you brave or sutpit. Tanks, but man go stick with “euphoria.” Me doan want no Cyber Police picking me up and pelting me in de paddy wagon and teking me down Bagdad. Then to the court to be upholstered in orange. Have mercy, no tanks.

GT done say how Ralph go punish me and how it go be easy cause day know is way to fine me.

Patrick Ferrari:

James H.

Remind me not to get in the ring with you.

Can you please explain the logic to me, not the logic behind the airlines wanting a monopoly (keep our grand entrance into AIA a secret until it is too late for our competition to get a foot in); not the illogic why Ralph and company would allow the tail to wag the dog by allowing the airlines to dictate to them; but the logic or illogic of the masses accepting the government’s miserably inadequate excuse of why there has not been an announcement of airlines coming as yet.

C. ben done cover that last one: he said that the people drunk with ignorance – and he is right. Now I am asking you for yours.

Never mind that Glen Beache, in 2012, knew more or less exactly which airlines were coming and that HE, not the airlines, were going to make the announcement by June/July of 2013.

James H:

Patrick regarding the logic of “keep our grand entrance into AIA a secret until it is too late for our competition to get a foot in” the logic to you and me is that it may well quite simply be that no one has yet signed up to date for this airport and it is just yet another U.L.P holding lie or if some have truly signed up, it is just plainly being kept for maximum political play for the simpletons in this country and in the diaspora.

As to this Glen Beache! Well one says this, Ha Ha Haaaa! An announcement by June/July of 2013? Put simply Patrick, it would appear that this Glen Beache, in 2012 was telling us nothing but downright porkies as the facts has since transpired. This man too, like the leader of their party, is not to be trusted in anything, speech or statement. The Gang’s stock in trade is entirely smoke and mirrors!

His announcement is very mush as was his statements on the long awaited “Integrity Bill.” What was that again about his not being seen if the “Integrity Bill” was not brought into effect within the first 100 days of the U.L.P taking the reins of Office!

Well there again Patrick, 16 years has since past and where is that “Integrity Bill”? Stuck on a shelf somewhere gathering dust, awaiting a stamp and a signature to bring it into law! This is he all right! And its yeas 16 years later and no law on integrity! An utterly untrustworthy guy riding on the gravy train!

Once again is this not the same garrulous blustering Glen Beache in traditional form? The vociferous King maker? This is he all right! As Bob would say “them belly full but we hungry”! Note however, a lying and deceitful tongue as we know, is an outrage and an abomination before the God of all this earth but there again, the U.L.P and their leaders has no God, their true God is their belly and may the real and proper God help those who gets in their way of stuffing it full. These guys most certainly have no personal need of the “Zero Hunger Trust Fund”!

The PAPA, this loquacious and talkative trickster knows how to manipulate these our fellow citizens, a simple set of people who are indeed drunk with ignorance. Did you not see how they hailed him when he landed the small aircraft on the unfinished tarmac, aircraft that could have easily landed on the windward highway that day.

Those our fellow citizens in the diaspora who left here to better themselves, at least ought to know better for the outside world has much to teach them but as so many of those richer fellows never bettered themselves through education, they too have proved themselves to be equally simple and childlike in mind as with these victims here at home, easily falling for the ULP’s attention grabbing gimmicks. The smoke and mirrors tricks conjured up by these charlatans and their gang of usurpers.

James H:

Sorry Partick I made a mistake about which of this Beache family who were involved in the various statements that was here quoted. There is so much nepotism with this bunch of Stalinist that one tends to get mixed up as to who is who among them. This Glen Beache you mentioned, may well be the son of the infamous kingmaker, the one Vincent Beache or is it the grandson of his? Yet not too sure!

Am I now for this, to be dragged off before the court by two burley Policemen, for committing a criminal offence by mixing these two names up and for speaking out against this discriminatingly sickening nepotism, that is at the heart of this Stalinist project?

This nepotistic gang tells us that they want to see changes in SVG but nevertheless, will not change their heart’s polarity from a propensity to evil. This grossly nepotistic bunch are now so intolerant of any criticism that they have passed this their new Bill that intends to put us all behind bars for our reporting on our observations of them. Their intolerance of us truly knows no bounds!

However, to paraphrase Voltaire during the period of the enlightenment, we must tolerate everything but intolerance and for your information here is what Sir Karl Raimund Popper that Austrian and British philosopher and recent professor at the London School of Economics had to say. “We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.” So though we tolerate them, we nevertheless find them as we do Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and the likes, very obnoxious indeed.

Peter Binose:

I am sure that BellIsle prison will be full of political prisoners soon because that is part of the Marxist plan.

It is important to show the other ALBA scum brigade that we to have political prisoners as well. It is a kind of Marxist-Leninist badge of honor to have political prisoners. Because without them they are not fulfilling there ALBA obligations and will not be able to join the CubVen Association of Political Prisoner Keepers. For which you are promised 1 million Castro brownie points and a hug up by Fidel himself.

They may wish to use the Cyber Crime Act to lock people up under the pretext of those captured having insulted or hurt the feelings of the comrade but that is just so much shite. The whole object is to stop free speech and to get themselves a collection of political prisoners. You can be sure that those grabbed as political prisoners will be beaten and tortured because that is the Vincentian police procedure for all other suspects. It is the only way they can gain admissions from those taken up by the police.

So Patrick if they do grab you the orange attire will be to hide the hosepipe lash marks and the stomach punch bruises.

You would make a great political prisoner because of your special writing skills when you are released you will be able to recuperate in Florida and write your memoirs and experiences as a political prisoner at the hands of a Marxist monster and a family dynasty. You will also be invited to Colleges and Universities as a speaker and will earn a fortune.


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