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Letter: St Vincent Argyle Airport update: June 2014
Published on June 14, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

I have visited the airport three times every week during the last two months. Recently I watched with my new Sunagor 30-160x70 binoculars from the base of the control tower site, a man I know as a Cuban engineer assisted by a Vincentian labourer testing the runway compaction.

Instead of making a grid in the process of analysing the runway compaction test scientifically it was more of a willy-nilly kind of testing regime.

We were told by PM Gonsalves that the test was carried out in our new laboratory. He told us how the contractors could get away with nothing. What he didn’t tell us was that we have no contractors. We are building an airport ‘self build style’; we are our own contractors. In fact, it started out as a ULP project; they were the contractors, all the trucks still carry stickers “we are ULP” and “we are labour”, but when financial difficulties arose, it became a state contract.

When he told us the compaction test was carried out in the laboratory I assumed that the test was called the Proctor test. The Proctor compaction test is a laboratory method of experimentally determining the optimal moisture content at which a given soil type will become most dense and achieve its maximum dry density. The term Proctor is in honour of R. R. Proctor, who in 1933 showed that the dry density of a soil for a given compactive effort depends on the amount of water the soil contains during soil compaction. His original test is most commonly referred to as the standard Proctor compaction test; later on, his test was updated to create the modified Proctor compaction test.

What I believe I saw during my recent visits was a Cuban engineer testing the compaction by a method that appeared to be the Troxler gauge testing system. There are several types of Troxler gauges, some work with a nuclear gauge and some with a non nuclear gauge; both are used for testing in the field and not in the laboratory. The test and the results are done right there at the runway. The engineer’s assistant drives in a spike to make a hole, and then the gauge rod is lowered into the hole at measured depths. A reading is taken and noted and written into a log. So there is no laboratory test, the test takes place right there in the field.

But what we need to consider is that the test is not carried out by an independent test expert, but by one of our own employed Cuban workers. So one asks the question “so what?” We are doing our own testing and can write anything we want in the log book. This procedure is most unreliable and we rely on one man, who is our man, who can write whatever he wants, even what he is instructed, in the log and submit it as fact.

So when we got all that spiel from the PM about “the contractor can get away with nothing”, it is untruthful. Because in carrying out a self test relying only on one man’s honesty and credibility, we/they can get away with everything.

Remember I previously wrote that I expect a new report that says compaction is okay and the cement is then laid. The runway must read 100% compaction and everywhere else, grass areas, etc, must be compacted to at least 92%. I do not believe for a nanosecond that the whole site will ever reach the criteria that are required by the FAA and other air licensing agencies.

According to my Cuban informant, they have been using a brand new concrete pump mounted on a truck, operated by Cuban workers. Last week they left cement in it overnight, which then dried and set in the machine. The whole machine is now scrap. That’s what you call Cuban expertise.

Runway and airport terminal building apron water and chemicals will still be drained into the nearby stream, then into the sea. No provision for removing the chemicals or even for future testing of the effluent. This could well mean the death of fishing in the area between Argyle and Kingstown, perhaps affecting even the Leeward coast.

The terminal is still 30 feet below the runway. Nothing can now be done about that.

We are still paying the Cubans’ wages and the Venezuelans still are not reimbursing us as they promised.

They have filled a small but deep valley that fronts at the Rawacou road, right next to the resort. The way it has been filled is an absolute certainty for a massive land slip during some heavy rain period. There have already been some small slippages. To make matters worse they have stored many thousands of tons of crushed stone on top of the unstable land fill.

We still have no coalition of the willing -- that has turned out to be the biggest untruth in the whole history of the SVG, I will not say a lie, because it may just be ignorant stupidity on the part of he that negotiated such a deal without written contracts. But thinking about it, I don’t think so.

What peeves me is why we must be lied to about everything, including compaction testing. Why?

Peter Binose
Reads: 31196

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Marlon Mills:

Thanks for that valid piece of information Peter.

According to my sources - an engineer in this field of work in the United States - there is always need for an inspector to watch the test being run and to verify that the correct results are submitted. This would be a normal requirement of the Aviation Authority considering the granting of approval for the operation of this airport. And if by some miracle the administration should get away with such shoddy workmanship, which international airline is going to risk the safety of its passengers and equipment to land there?

The Comrade thinks that he is so smart and that Vincentians are a bunch of ignoramuses. The man has absolutely no clue what he is doing!

F Spence:

Why on God's earth this guy name Peter Binose so hate this country call St. Vincent. I often read his article, and what I find interesting is that someone always telling him something and then he ran with it as if fact in addition he go about saying thing to appear as do he knows what he is saying to fool people to believe he have good knowledge on the subject. A fool can always fool the fools and those that want to be fool , but there are a lot of people that know better and know the ICAO code and requirement that you can not fool. You are such a heartless evil case. wherever you are from, I hope when it completed you will start using the boat to travel back and forth if you do go to St. Vincent or live there.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines and it people suffer for many years without proper air access, and the former NDP government play with the hearts of the nation people every election, telling them how they are going to build an international airport and how they have the money to do it. Yet they have not turned one stone upside down to make it happen. Now it is being done by a new Government in a short space of time, we have the bad speaking mouth people, and the born overnight experts on matter of building an international airport. If we had more people in the world like this Peter Binose, our world will still be in the stone age.

This fool also stated that the terminal is 30ft below the runway, for real? I have seen many pictures of this terminal and the work being done and it pictures you can even see the terminal is even above the apron and for those who no better will also observed the most apron are also slightly above the runway level. May be she should go down with a ruler to make measurements instead of spying though a binocular fro on top a hill where the control tower is being constructed.

know to the FAA, the FAA is responsible for aviation matters in the U.S.A. only, but because airline base in the U.S. will be using the facility they will seek information from the ECCA, which is responsible for aviation matters in the Eastern Caribbean for information. Also they can during the operation of the airport can come and do audit in the interest of airline base in the USA that operating at Argyle. Likewise other country aviation authorities can go to other countries and do an audit in the interest of the airlines that is base in their respective country. And this Peter Binose seem to have a selective hearing by failed to hear or read the stamp of approval by the FAA of the U.S.A. This world can do much better without people like this Peter Binose, he seem never to have anything good or positive to say about this little island and this airport project in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to make international access much easier for it people who suffer for so long for many years.

Peter Binose:

F. SPENCE, regardless of the smoke you try and generate it will not create a smoke screen.

The people will be suffering for a hundred years just because of the debt generated by this project. It has all but bankrupted SVG. We have been lied to about every single aspect of the project.

1/ there was a coalition of the willing that would pay for the project, either in cash, materials or plant and machinary. LIE

2/ When the project is completed there will be debt. LIE.

3/ The Venezuelans were paying the Cubans wages. LIE.

4/ The airport would be finished in 2009. LIE

5/ The airport would be finished in 2010. LIE

6/ The airport would be finished in 2011 LIE.

7/ The airport would be finished in 2012. LIE

9/ The airport would be finished in 2013. LIE.

10/ The airport would be finished in 2014. Lie

11/ The airport would be finished in 2015, lets wait and see, if that too is a LIE.

12/ Everyone would be paid for their land which was compulsory purchased. LIE. There are still 60 people unpaid.

13/ When the airport is open it will boost agriculture. LIE. The low value products that we produce will never be shipped by air, also agriculture has purposely been destroyed by this Marxist government.

14/ The runway is 30 feet higher than the terminal.

15/ The apron is now 5' lower than the terminal, travellers will have to climb steps to get into the terminal. That is why Gonsalves was recently bragging that at great expense airbridges are to be installed to allow travelers to walk from the aircraft straight into the building. This procedure is not for the comfort of the traveler its to correct the total botch by the Taiwanese builders and the Cuban surveyors. Another LIE.

LIES, LIES, LIES. Then you come here and support those lies.

F Spense:

Oh Mr. Peter Binos, I have no smoke, what I have is knowledge of the issues and I can see you are really such a fool. An airport whose construction start in 2008, who is so foolish to say it will be completed in a year. The only people that will tell you that is the very people who lie to you and tell you it will be 2009. I have follow this issues with airport development from the day the NDP get into power and play with it for 17 years and did not turn one stone over. I have follow this issues from the day the ULP government made the announcement in 2005 to construct the international airport, and I have not heard any one say it will be completed in one year. So if you heard that from the people that lie to you, then you are such a fool to believe that it can be done in a year.

Now, if a completion date has been revise 2 or 3 time is there really a problem with that. Do you know of any project in the world that things always go as planed. I do believe in a heaven were there is perfection, but sorry to disappoint you, we are not there, and you will not find in on this earth at this present time. A house that might be able to be completed in a month can take a moth or two more. Why is that? Well it because in this world there are many variables, and I can name some for you. There are the weather; delayed in funds, technical difficulty, delays in other things and the list can go one. So if something was planed to be completed in 2012 and it revise to 2013 or 2014, who is it a lie? Maybe a man like you never had a delay in your life, you are to perfect the accept the fact that dates can be revise.

Also this just show how foolish you are. If someone make a prediction or an estimation that, the airport will boost agriculture. Before you say it a lie, don’t you need to wait till the airport is completed and start operation? And will you not have to give it a few years to see if the prediction is correct or fall short? The airports is not finish, and it not in operation as yet. so how is the prediction a lie? Have you look into the future or have you become a god to know the future?

I tike how you say that are 60 people still unpaid, so that tell me the other percentage have been paid and those 60 people are yet to be paid. Were is your prove that they will not be paid. As I sated before you are to perfect a man to accept that in life there are delays and things don’t always go as plan.

And please listen to yourself, “The runway is 30 feet higher then the terminal”. How id that possible?

Also this make you real foolish. Listen to yourself again. “ The apron is now 5' lower than the terminal, travellers will have to climb steps to get into the terminal. That is why Gonsalves was recently bragging that at great expense airbridges are to be installed to allow travelers to walk from the aircraft straight into the building. This procedure is not for the comfort of the traveler its to correct the total botch by the Taiwanese builders and the Cuban surveyors”. If a terminal is 5ft lower than apron, then it can not be a candidate for jet-bridges. The purpose of jet-bridges are nor to rectified a or any structures with uneven levels. And for your information Jet-bridges were invented to enhance the comfort of the traveling public; to minimize delay in boarding and deplaning in the event of bad weather. What I get for you is that you so despise what this man is doing just because of political favors or ties you have with the NDP. It is sad that people like you can not look pass politic and embrace anyone that seek to build that little nation regardless of who it is. You are such a sad helpless case of a person.

Peter Binose:

Dear Mr Spense

It is the aim of every planned project to have definable dates to start and finish. There are contracts drawn up with contractors to ensure schedules and contractual terms are complied with. Overruns due to weather or adverse site or ground conditions are usually made some allowance for within the contract, and a formula is usually included. When a contractor overruns without contractual excuse, they will be subject to a penalty clause, which could well see them paying huge sums of money for the delay to the project.

[ section removed during self editing of obnoxious wording on my part ]

You wrote-

“Now, if a completion date has been revise[d] 2 or 3 time[s] is there really a problem with that [?]. Do you know of any project in the world that[where] things always go as planed [planned] [?]

“I do believe in a heaven were there is perfection, but sorry to disappoint you, we are not there, and you will not find in[it] on this earth at this[the] present time“.

“A house that might be able to be completed in a month can take a moth[month] or two more. Why is that? Well it[s] because in this world there are many variables, and I can name some for you“.

“There are[is] the weather; delayed[delay] in funds [or, ‘delayed funds‘], technical difficulty[difficulties], delays in other things and the list can go one.

So if something was planed[planned] to be completed in 2012 and it[s] revise[d] to 2013 or 2014, who[how] is it[that] a lie? Maybe a man like you never had a delay in your life, you are to perfect the[to] accept the fact that dates can be revise[d].

Mr Spense I really do not want to appear rude, but my advice to you is get whoever is instructing you in this crap, get them to write out what you must say or come here and write.

It is most obvious to the most ignorant of people that any project of this size would be pre-funded, or have in hand a commitment of future funds by a lending source.

There would be no running out of funding that would stop of affect the project. No one in this world builds anything without having the funds, or knowing where the funds are coming from to complete such a project.

To start an important project without having a contractor or funds is mildly putting it, quite insane and the behaviour of a fiscal dunce.

Any project of this size would be subject to a contract with a properly selected contractor, or contractors.

For your further corrective information

“August 8th 2005 Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves addressed a gathering at the Methodist Church Hall on the issue of airport development in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and made clear the intentions of the government to construct an international airport at Argyle“.

To be finished by 2009.

September 2005, a team of Cuban and Venezuelan engineers and technicians began preliminary studies on the project.

May 19th 2008, the first 13 pieces of heavy earth moving equipment promised by the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for earthworks on the airport project arrived. It was over a year late. These first pieces were followed by several other shipments, altogether numbering 37 pieces of heavy equipment and a variety of spares, costing US$10 million (EC$27 million).

July 13th 2008 saw the groundbreaking ceremony to signal the start of construction of the Argyle International Airport. Now two years late, a new completion date of 2010 set.

This was the only equipment supplied by the Venezuelans, the next 90% of acquired equipment, the government paid for with loans.

There are reams of time lines and projections made, all to fool the public and to try and keep the ULP in power by seeking timelines that coincided with general elections.

Please, please Mr Spense, spare me the crap, try your best not to reply to this.

F Spense:

Yes I have the document on that the addressed at gathering at the Methodist Church Hall on the issue of airport development in St Vincent and the Grenadines. So yes I know what it said and the one year spoken is not related to completion of the construction of the airport, but the completion of date of the studied for the project. Only a fool will believe that you can construct an airport of that size in a year. Let me say this to you matters of aviation is not new to me. I have been studying this subject as a child back home, also I know the history of airport development in SVG dating back to our first airport. In addition I am in the aviation business and I what does on in it . So when you tell be crap about jet-bridges will be install because of terminal being 5ft have lower then the apron is total crap that you need to shout your month with because you don’t know jack.

What I pick up about you from your fruitless response, is that you are one of those people that want to sit on your boot and don’t make any contribution to the development of your country. Your want to get thing done for free without adding your one cent. You want another country to provide the rest equipment and vincentian make no contribution at all. I am for one, happy that that many vincentian both private citizen and those with business, who make contribution to this project, because they understand the importance and befits of it now and for the future of the vincentian children. I am happy that vincentian can say this is our airport because we have contributed to its development. Where will be your pride be knowing that some other country did every thing for you and you spend not one red cent to get it done? Jest you will like that because you believe in getting thing without having to pay for it.

Just do yourself a favor, love yourself and your country, love the people that seek to build your country, regardless to what party they are. I observed that to be your problem you can not see pass party lines. As I say and you are sad case. You article is baseless and lack sound facts. Also be prepare to save yourself the embarrassment. When you need to travel, just book a boat or take one of the ferry down to one of the Grenadines islands and take the plane from one of the smaller airports. That ways you will not have see all the negative things you have to say about that airport in development.

Peter Binose:

SPENSE, you write out of ignorance whilst I write out of fact. I inspected again what they are doing with the airport apron early on Saturday morning. It is definitely so much lower that there will have be steps installed for anyone entering the terminal from the apron on foot. Whoever heard of such a thing at an airport?

Like the runway and the rest of the site the apron was never compacted properly, it is too low and is now having a concrete surface applied. Like the runway the apron should have been compacted to 100% it is not. All the rest of the site must be compacted to a minimum of 92%, it is not.

One thing you can be sure of SPENSE, is that I have done more for SVG than you will have if you live for another hundred years. I have paid more taxes and given more to local charities than you have, even if you live another 200 years.

What I am objecting to is the lies, we were told all these things. We were told the airport was being paid for by others, it is not and we have been deceived. Had we of been told of some other financing arrangement I would accept that. But we have been lied to every inch of the way.

People have stole from the airport and not been prosecuted. The airport construction is all being done on a fifth rate basis. I inspected the concrete road section that leads from the emergency vehicle depot to the runway. I observed them using a cement vibrating poker whilst laying the sections of this. Yet still there are large areas below the joints, which can be observed from the side, that has a lot of air in the mix and should be rejected and re-laid.

All of the inspections should be inspected by an independent authority, not by ourselves, because we obviously cannot be trusted. The proof of that is in the compaction testing and everything else done by way of verification.

SPENCE, as an international business and multi project consultant and captain of international industry, in Russia, Africa and Europe. I often initially had to rely on the word of politicians and corporate heads. Unfortunately you cannot rely on anything that you are told by this regime, because every single thing they tell us is either a lie or has a content that is misleading, and therefore is untrue.

Regardless of what you say, we were told that others would pay for the airport, a coalition of the willing. That turned out to be a lie, and was only a tool to get this government re-elected, perhaps without such promises they would be long gone before now.

Do you remember when Chavez came and looked at the airport, he said on the platform, “it will make a nice golf course” and he chuckled to himself. He was aware that this project is more to do with politics than anything else.

Yes we want an airport, but not one that carries a curse.

You SPENCE are what I would describe as a misguided patriot. You are patriotic to a party and man, confusing that with country. Wake up man and smell the evil, smell the sulphur.

F Spence:

Peter Binose: what is your point?Your article lack facts noting your say about that airport have fact to back it up. It's all words and your article is just base on your heat for a man I they call. Just cold not even comment or say anything about the God report the FAA place on the project. As I say you just one of those people who like to sit on your lazy boot and get thing done without making your any meaningful contribution to the development of your country. For the sake of those that want to know the facts, I add this to link: that they may see and read for themselves. So you can send me a next long useless reply with out any fact to back up your article. Here are the links for the people that want the truth:

Myrtle Warren:

Why is it that all of the comments or approximately 99% of the comments I read about the airport is always negative. Don't Vincentians have any pride in their own country? Where is Vincentian Patriotism? After all, aren't people tired of having to spend whole day in Barbados, and arriving in St Vincent while their luggage is still in Barbados? Apart from providing direct flight there are jobs to be created because of the airport. There is also a big boost to tourism. Come on Vincentians, stop depending on others to do things for you and get up and do them yourselves


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