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Letter: Has the cat got your tongue, prime minister?
Published on November 26, 2015 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

Most politicians are pretty loquacious creatures. It comes with the territory. How else could they get the attention of voters if they didn’t talk a lot, sometimes with great erudition, on a whole host of political issues?

letters_icon.jpg
This is especially true of the Honourable Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the second longest serving prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, whose verbal finesse, debating skills, prodigious intellect, and advanced learning are second to none. As some have said, he would easily best America’s Barack Obama, no slouch when it comes to oratorical sparring, in a debate on just about any issue of the latter’s choice.

So it is more than surprising that our garrulous prime minister has been so taciturn when it comes to the two most important issues facing Argyle International Airport: which airlines will be servicing an airport that he has just called “for all practical purposes, finished” and which developers will be constructing hotels and resorts to serve the explosion in international tourist arrivals the airport is meant to unleash.

Whenever even preliminary agreements are in place with airlines or hotel/resort developers, these are immediately made public by all parties to achieve maximum publicity gain and international tourism recognition (e.g., Guyana airlift increases as additional airlines enter the market; United Airlines announces new non-stop service from Newark to St Kitts.

When named and reputable investors just pumped US$200 million into the Jamaican hotel sector, we were immediately told about it: Investors pump US$200 million into Jamaica hotel sector

But our own Honourable Dr Ralph Gonsalves has yet again “declined to call the names of the airlines that he said have agreed to service the airport” or identify the parties who he claims want to build a resort at Mt Wynne, a new city at Arnos Vale, and a hotel and other facilities in Kingstown.

This is all the more surprising given the way he shouted from the rooftops that Harlequin Hotels and Resorts was planning to build a resort complex at Buccament Bay ten years ago.

Still, all this secrecy about Argyle International Airport airlines and hotel spin-offs has not prevented the prime minister from claiming, “I will call [i.e., identify] them when I am ready. We have two international airlines out of the United States ready to come to Argyle. We have one out of Canada ready to come and we have also out of Europe, including the United Kingdom.”

Please give us their names, prime minister; or has the cat got your normally effusive tongue?

***

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

My other AIA pieces may be found at:

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’?

C. ben-David
 
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Comments:

James H:

In posting a reply to the number of pertinent questions that you have raised, whatever does Vinciman for the regime mean when he writes these words “Who was it that said 'those who know don't tell. Those who tell don't know'. Just a reminder C.ben-David!“

I am not aware for my part, that the construction of the Airport was a private venture on the part of individuals in SVG’s Government! The project surely is being constructed with “PUBLIC” borrowed money, by an incompetent government, who cannot manage money at that, therefore, it is the duty of the Government to tell us just exactly what it is doing in our name.

Moreover as we, our gran and great children are likely to be paying for this folly long into the future, it is most certainly incumbent and obligatory of the Government to state most plainly just what they have done and are doing in our name. One would have thought that our constitution makes it compulsory and mandatory that we are told the exact truth.

I suspect however that the attitude here by the regime is that the latter-day slaves should not question their masters and betters. These attitudes creates fortunes that never ends well for those in charge. I note however the ends of Papa Doc Duvalier- Haiti, Chiestu – Romania, Muammar Gaddafi – Libya and Saddam Hussein – Iraq.

And another thing this word “soon” has come to mean different things to different people as in Vinciman’s statement “Argyle International Airport will be opening soon ben-David, soon ben-David.” When is this soon?

His statement has a ring to it! And it reminds me of Lewis Carol’s Humpty Dumpty 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'' (May I ask how long is a piece of string?)

"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected. ... in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different ..”

Just why is there no completion date being announced? What one keep hearing now that there is an election is this word “soon,” from the regime and its operatives! Are we that naïve and gullible? Just where are the questioning Accountants, Economists and Investigative reporters in SVG? There, there, there, I see that we are all off to hell in a hand cart.

Peter Binose:

David I often disagree with what you write and your opinions.

Well in this case I agree with your opinions but must strongly object to you using the word honorable when describing this man. I know that may be political correct and correct to the rules of diplomacy. When describing some the word may be relevant but when it comes to Ralph E Gonsalves I object to the use of honorable under any circumstances at all.

Other than that David a spiffing and great observation of the Caribbeans most prolific serial liar.

Vinciman:

Who was it that said 'those who know don't tell. Those who tell don't know'. Just a reminder C.ben-David!

Argyle International Airport will be opening soon ben-David, soon ben-David. Oh! Will you be flying out?

C. ben-David:

Peter, my use of irony seems to have escaped you, as in the juxtaposition of "honourable" and "liar."

I'm just back from Courts where I bought a big screen TV as a personal Xmas present. Went upstairs to pay by debit card only to meet a huge line of people making their by-weekly credit payment. Yet another indication of a depressed economy when most people have to use credit even for purchases under $1,000m items because they never have this much in the bank at any given time. And these are the so-called lower-middle and working classes.

On the way back to the bus station to catch a van home (I hate looking for parking in town), some local skettels called out to me, probably to beg for money. When ignored them, they began to curse.

The day before, a young gel bagging groceries in Randy's Supermarket started to flirt with this old man. I thought she was asking me to take her home but then understood she wanted me to take her overseas after realising she had seen my passport which I had used as ID for my debit card purchase.

How sad that so many of our young women have been reduced to picking fares with old men over the pass 14 years. I wonder who their male role model is? It certaintly couldn't be our Honourable Prime Minister could it?

H. james:

C. ben-David I am indeed intrigued to note that even if one were to complete the construction of this Argyle International Airport, no one to my knowledge, have yet published an estimate of its running cost inclusive of construction finance. It most certainly would not be peanuts!

With the high cost of running such an international Airport to international standards in this period of necessary increased security, coupled with the estimated interest borrowing cost alone for building the project, set at approximately $40mil to $50mil a year, one wonders where this immensely hefty sum of money would be found in little SVG, which according to information before me and said to be from the PM’s Office, we would also be paying out some additional $50mil a year in welfare payments to some10 mill of the population.

We may well be looking down the road at bankrupted SVG limited very soon.

JAMES. H

C. ben-David:

JAMES. H, a lot of airport and/or ULP supporters have often used the red herring that sceptics like me have argued that the airport could/would never be built.

Most us said no such thing. Everybody knows that he airport will be completed and operational (but not necessarily operating) one of these days, if the rest of the funds are forthcoming.

The issue is and has always been: (1) does SVG need an international airport and (2) can SVG afford to build and operate an international airport based on the financial benefits that the airport would generate.

My answer has always been that (1) SVG does not need an international airport based on the expected additional traffic and spinoff tourism and business revenue and (2) the annual operating and maintenance costs will overwhelm the spin off revenue.

So why was the airport built without a feasibility study or good estimate of its overall construction costs and operating expenses?

Because the Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, our clever leader, recognized that the actual building of the boondoggle at Argyle would win him one election after another, including the present one.

Don't forget, we have a ignorant population easily fooled by false prophets.


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