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Letter: Phony airport completion election promises, Vincie-style
Published on July 18, 2015 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

In what appears to be a crude attempt to shore up his declining political base in advance of the upcoming election, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Honourable Dr Ralph Gonsalves, has just announced that an agreement has been signed with some unknown group of Canadian investors to (1) build a hotel and golf course at Mount Wynne/Peter’s Hope on the Central Leeward coast and (2) construct a tourist attraction around the Little Tokyo area and elsewhere in Kingstown consisting of a creative arts centre, small shops, a boardwalk, and a 40-50 bedroom hotel.

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The entire project, which he called a “huge investment,” is a result of what he claims is the near completion of Argyle International Airport (AIA) which he and his supporters have long argued will bring thousands of new visitors to the mainland of St Vincent.

No other details were given, leading to a number of unanswered questions and issues:

1. By all accounts, the proposed international airport at Argyle is far from completion, let alone operation, making this new project seem little more than wishful thinking or empty political propaganda.

2. A 40-50 room hotel in Kingstown is hard to imagine, with most existing hotels and guest houses in and around the capital nearly empty most of the year. Moreover, such a hotel would need to have spacious grounds and various outdoor amenities (swimming pool, tennis court, outdoor bar and restaurant, entertainment and recreational space, etc.) if it is going to attract many tourists, a difficult achievement in our densely packed capital unless tens of millions were expended buying up and bulldozing existing properties.

3. Likewise a handsome boardwalk (which would have to be paid for by the government) of any length and utility would be difficult to imagine in a city with so little land that is not occupied by the cruise ship terminal and other docking facilities, and with so many unsightly government and other structures situated so close to the sea. Hopefully, he doesn’t have in mind replicating the funny little excuse of a boardwalk at Villa!

4. A creative arts centre sounds like a good idea if run on a non-profit basis, as are most facilities of this type all around the world, but would hardly be a project a profit-oriented “group of investors” would be interested in.

5. As for many “little shops” at Chinatown, we have a surplus of all manner of small businesses all over downtown Kingstown, most of which are barely holding their own.

6. Overall, points 2-5 suggest that this proposed project looks like the same pipedream as the phantom city planned for Arnos Vale.

7. Where at Mount Wynne/Peter’s Hope will the project be located? How many acres of land will be taken up? Will it be a room-rental hotel, time share, or condominium? How many rooms will the hotel have and what amenities will it contain?

8. According to the prime minister, the government would retain management (and presumably ownership) of the golf course and clubhouse, a task most people would consider ludicrous given this government’s inability to properly manage and maintain existing tourist facilities. Indeed, publically-owned golf courses have long been sold off to the private sector all over the world because of incompetent administration and chronic economic losses.

9. Most important of all is the identity of this secret “group of investors” from Canada we have been hearing about for years now. What experience do they have in the hotel/resort/hospitality industry? What are they bringing to the table as far as their own investment resources are concerned? What role will the government have in financing the project, lending money to the “group of investors,” or guaranteeing their bank loans?

10. Finally, is the agreement that was signed a legally-binding contract or is it simply the unenforceable “memorandum of understanding” – a kind of formal gentlemen’s agreement of intention and interest -- that the prime minister referred to in the 2015 Budget address where he argued that the "impending opening" of AIA “... has drawn a group of Canadian investors to present a proposal to the government for a US $200 million hotel investment at Mount Wynne/Peters Hope. Our government has accorded 'approval in principle' for the proposal. The government and the Canadian investors are likely to sign a memorandum of understanding within a few weeks, hopefully in February 2015." (http://www.gov.vc/pmoffice/images/stories/Speeches/2015%20budget%20address%20-%20final.pdf)

Unless we get detailed answers to all these questions and concerns, this project will remain in the land of pipedreams and phony elections promises.

ENDNOTE

This is the sixteenth in a series of essays on the folly of the proposed airport at Argyle. 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

***

C. ben-David
 
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Comments:

Peter Binose:

One of the problems that sticks out that he has not divulged is that some of those involved are local Vincentians who have nothing.

Smells like another lack of proper due dilligence like the Buccament fiasco.

Proof of funds and proof that those involved have carried out such a project previously. That is more important than a photcopy of a Canadian passport.

If you can't do the due dilligence I will do it once I know the names of those foreigners. I have already done that on the Vincentians and they fail the test.

Vinci Vin:

C. ben-David

These are legitimate questions that the office of the PM needs to answer. THe PM is duty bound to respond to your questions and concerns. But as usual, just like the Ottley Hall Lease, his office will not provide credible and timely responses or no response at all.

ben-David, the PM has fooled us many times. He initially got support with his manifesto of 2000-01. Can someone please find this manifesto and post it for all to see the number of jobs that were to be created, the call center, national stadium, cross country road and other such projects that were promised?

ben.David, as you know I am quite sympathetic/supportive of the Argyle airport project. WE have in principle agreed to disagree on this project. Yet, I find much value in your concerns and questions that you have brought to light in your articles.

Furthermore, I used to admire what I called the big dreams of the PM. But it now appears to me that those dreams were either co-opted from the ideas of other people or dreams that do not lend themselves to realistic manifestations as executable projects. How cana nyone continue to lend support or even seriously contemplate the many election year promisses put forth by this PM? One can only surmise that the PM hurriedly accept whatever ideas he feels might appease the electorate, wrap them up in pretty rethoric, and disseminate them to the public in order to support his political agenda. After he is re-ellected, those promises will be dumped and burned in the incinerator of ULP political promises.

Will we allow our selves to be continuously fooled by this administration. We need new thinking in the governance of SVG. We need honest and appropriate-educated leaders with relevant education who can creatively and realistically plan and execute meritorios projects for the development of SVG. The present administration has proven that it is not credible, transparent, accountable, and able to lead the progress of our nation.

I am so disappointed. This election, the people of SVG need to make the informed decision to vote out the ULP and start over.

Vinci Vin

C. ben-David:

Yes, Peter, if they exist at all, these are obviously ULP "investors" living in Canada, probably Toronto, with no means or expertise of their own to build a $US200 million hotel but who would try to borrow money in SVG using the government as a guarantor for the loan.

As I have already argued, if the large Mt. Wynne/Peter's Hope region were attractive enough for international resort development, it would have been snapped up years ago by some major American or other hotel chain.

I enjoy bathing at Mt. Wynne beach, but my pleasure doesn't come close to the joy of walking, swimming, snorkeling or relaxing on any of the soft and cool white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters in nearby Barbados, St. Lucia, or Grenada ... or in our own enchanting Grenadines.

Observer:

In and out of parliament the Honorable Arnhim Eustace continues to critique the government tourism strategy. Take a look at their weekly column in one of the three newspapers, Friday May 8th, 2015. Caption: "The NDP and tourism".
Does this looks like a solid plan for tourism development in SVG? This is an unfinished document. We expected better from Mr. Eustace and his NDP party.

There isn't any doubt in my mine that the ULP has a better tourism STRATEGY than what the NDP had presented. From Windward to Leeward, to the Grenadines the evidence are clear for all to see. Tremendous improvements in our tourism product during the past 14 years under the ULP. Upgraded tourist sites, each has its uniqueness with individual brochure combined with an aggressive marketing campaign. The "Inns and Outs" magazine were enhanced , along with additional brochures including the newly 32 Islands magazine. Recently implemented (Tourism Service Standards) project. Improved tourism channels, upgraded web site, and a National Training Institute at Diamond. National Rivers, Beaches , and parks, are the ones responsible for preserving these sites.

Here's a list of questions pieced together:

* Would you consider sports tourism?

* Would you consider the ULP's proposal for the transformation of Arnos Vale?

* Any plans to construct a national stadium?

* Any plans to have a major hotel brand here?

* How about medical tourism?

* Any plans to clean up Kingstown?

* How about the yachting sector?

* Would you pursue an aggressive marketing campaign to attract more visitors to our shores?

* How about infrastructure development?

* Do you intent to scrapped the Education Revolution program?

* What's your plans for the housing sector?

* How are you going to addressed the high rate of unemployment amongst the youths?

* Any plans for additional polyclinic at least one in the Grenadines?

* How about an (MRI) machine along with other vital pieces of equipment's for the (MCMH)?

Because of this (government) the poor were able to owned a piece of land. Because of this government lots of VINCENTIANS were able to obtained a shelter due to the Low Income Housing project. Because of this government young people were able to obtained a good education from various colleges/universities across the globe.

The physically challenged, including the elderly , were looked after. Tell me, where you'll find such a CARING, PATRIOTIC, and PEOPLE CENTERED regime like the ULP? Gonsalves and his team has accomplished what others were afraid of doing, by providing that VITAL link to the outside world. Dr. Gonsalves, to you and your team, I SAY THANKS, for the BOLDNESS, COURAGE, and DETERMINATION for an excellent job well done!

Prove me wrong critics?

Observer,
VINCY PATRIOT

MICHAEL L SCOTT:

CLICK ON LINK TO SEE THE CORRECT STATUS OF THE ARGYLE INTERNATIONAL AIRTPORT

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-the-Argyle-International-Airport/255896234421808?fref=ts

C. ben-David:

Dear Michael L. Scott, as far as I can see from the "Friends of Argyle International Airport" Facebook page, a site created by the government of SVG to publicize the airport, the "correct status" is that the project is far from complete. Did I miss something?

Observer:

As usual the two helpless men who knows everything and master nothing.

Peter Binose:

One of the Vincentians has a fairly recent police record.

Vinciman:

C. ben-David and his nonsensical anti-Vincy posturing at it again! Backed up by the “Wizards of Odds”!

Now our PM made some announcement of projected investments and agreements between our government and other entities, and that displeases C-ben to the core. You ever hear such madness? Like Ben don’t want to hear of, or see any improvements to our beloved homeland, and especially the Airport? Wasn’t this the same C-ben who said “good”…when the thief broke Corea’s store window and stole the Airport Fat screen TV?

“Phony Airport” he says… “By all accounts, the proposed international airport at Argyle is far from completion, let alone operation” (sic)…
Phony Airport ben-David! The Argyle International Airport is as “real” as can be, 99% completed and you call it phony?

Ben says “a 40-50 room hotel in Kingstown is hard to imagine, with most existing hotels and guest houses in and around the capital nearly empty most of the year”. Hard to imagine only for C. ben-David, who lacks vision, common sense and humanity. Statistics anyone? The dog ate Ben’s!

Did C-ben say, “declining political base”? “Yo outa yo mind as we done know ben-David!” You can’t be referring to the “three times elected” ULP government? Hell no! Got to be the NDP you talking ‘bout!
Under the ULP so many wonderful things have happened since, despite the natural disasters we faced, and the 2008 world economic crises. But plenty progress has been made since, too many to mention. What is the matter with C. ben the hater? How can me fren “Vinci Vin” agree with ben’s non-analysis or whatever you call it, when all ah we already know it is nonsense! This is not the first time c-ben has expressed disdain and contempt for SVG and its people and especially the Airport, and is something he takes great delight in exhibiting at every juncture and at all instances. And he expects not to be challenged for this. Wrong, so wrong! Vinciman can’t tolerate punks with attitude like ben-David who call us dunce, uncivilized, and low life; he even used the “N” word recently.

The airport coming whether you and your stupidest friends (you know who) bad talk it every day and every night! All yo just sound stupid to sensible Vincentians. Yep all the time bad talk, bad talk, bad talk. All the time!

You Ben can catch the next flight back to Canada, Binose to America or “who the hell knows” ‘cause if all you don’t like SVG, get to stepping my fiends, you all wouldn’t be missed.

Vinci Vin thinks that you posed some “legitimate questions that the office of the PM needs to answer…and is duty bound to respond”… Who say’s so? Vin must be kidding as usual! Sure he is, just like how he kid around and pretend not to understand the Ottley Hall fiasco, or the low income housing, or the education revolution, or ALBA, or Petro Caribe and last but not lease our “social democratic revolution”. Some people listen but they never hear or vice versa, and Vinci Vin is one of them. Stupid is as stupid does!

Observer:

C. Ben, you've written (16) articles so far but not one is effective. Just how many supporters you've gotten so far, only 4. That's disappointing to see a man whose on a mission to pull down SVG has spent so many hours and only 4 supporters. Vincentians aren't paying you any mind. You see Ben, JEALOUSY, ENVIOUSNESS,and HATRED, are all in the same pot. Do you agree?

Tell us what has been your contribution to SVG? Gonsalves has done more for SVG than you and Peter combined.

Peter Binose:

I wrote this in the comments on the other site, but Mr K has just sat on it.

A few things I would like to ask Gonsalves.

1/ Is the DD on the Canadians a more stringent Due Diligence than that carried out on Dave Ames who turned out to be a double glazed window salesman with a number of bankruptcy proceedings against him or/and his tin pot UK companies? Thousands of UK pensioners invested their pension funds with Harlequin which they have now lost. Lost with those pensioners funds and futures is the good name of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. You PM Gonsalves bear the full responsibility of such.

2/ Why not give the name of the company and people involved in the project. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

3/ Have any of the Vincentians involved got recent convictions on drug charges? I have been told that they have. So please give the names. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

4/ Have any of the Canadians any relationship with the Canadian that you approved to have a Vincentian diplomatic passport who was caught carrying a kilo of cocaine whilst travelling on the diplomatic passport to London. You know the man I mean; his name is Morgan, the uncle of our Attorney General Judith Jones Morgan’s husband. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

5/ Is the Chinese Canadian involved the one who said you promised him a casino license?

6/ You once said “when we look for investors, we do not expect them to be angels” so I looked at the antonyms for angel and found among those the names scum and sleazball. I sincerely hope that you retract your previous statement about angels, because even if you do not want angels we the people do. We certainly do not want scum or sleazballs. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

I am calling on you Mr Gonsalves to tell us the names of all the parties and companies involved. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

The reason that I must ask these questions is because I do not trust your word because you are a self confirmed liar. You also signed a contract in 2004 with the teachers and at your own later admittance at the time of signing you knew that the contract was unconstitutional and unenforceable. You told us that the Venezuelans were paying for the Cubans wages at Argyle airport site, they have never paid a cent, leaving us the tax payers to pick up a $300,000 a month wage bill. So I am very sorry and saddened that I cannot believe anything that you say, even your promises. So tell us who the parties are let us check for ourselves, this is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved. Tell us now and don’t leave it until we get into the same trouble that Harlequin and Dave Ames has brought to us.

Peter Binose:

A few things I would like to ask Gonsalves.

1/ Is the DD on the Canadians a more stringent Due Diligence than that carried out on Dave Ames who turned out to be a double glazed window salesman with a number of bankruptcy proceedings against him or/and his tin pot UK companies? Thousands of UK pensioners invested their pension funds with Harlequin which they have now lost. Lost with those pensioners funds and futures is the good name of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. You PM Gonsalves bear the full responsibility of such.

2/ Why not give the name of the company and people involved in the project. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

3/ Have any of the Vincentians involved got recent convictions on drug charges? I have been told that they have. So please give the names. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

4/ Have any of the Canadians any relationship with the Canadian that you approved to have a Vincentian diplomatic passport who was caught carrying a kilo of cocaine whilst travelling on the diplomatic passport to London. You know the man I mean; his name is Morgan, the uncle of our Attorney General Judith Jones Morgan’s husband. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

5/ Is the Chinese Canadian involved who said you promised him a casino license?

6/ You once said “when we look for investors, we do not expect them to be angels” so I looked at the antonyms for angel and found among those the names scum and sleazball. I sincerely hope that you retract your previous statement about angels, because even if you do not want angels we the people do. We certainly do not want scum or sleazballs. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

I am calling on you Mr Gonsalves to tell us the names of all the parties and companies involved. This is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved.

The reason that I must ask these questions is because I do not trust your word because you are a self confirmed liar. You also signed a contract in 2004 with the teachers and at your own later admittance at the time of signing you knew that the contract was unconstitutional and unenforceable. You told us that the Venezuelans were paying for the Cubans wages at Argyle airport site, they have never paid a cent, leaving us the tax payers to pick up a $300,000 a month wage bill. So I am very sorry and saddened that I cannot believe anything that you say, even your promises. So tell us who the parties are let us check for ourselves, this is not a family dynasty project it is a public project so we have the right to know all the parties involved. Tell us now and don’t leave it until we get into the same trouble that Harlequin and Dave Ames has brought to us.

As for you Vinciman you can throw up as much crap as you like but you can never overcome or Stymie the truth. Isn't it annoying when David is always right and your always wrong. Isn't it annoying that he is a man with decent morals and you have none.

And the airport certainly is not 99% completed, in your dreams.


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