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Letter: Ralph Gonsalves does not think, thoughts pop into his head and that's it!
Published on March 11, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

The airport at Argyle was opened and the government spent over half a million dollars to charter a plane in an effort to deceive the citizen of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and they did it with what was too be a big hullabaloo, which had a humongous anti-climax.

But while the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines are wallowing in poverty, experiencing high unemployment, because of a lack of creativity and depleted industrial sector, while the health sector has seen a depletion in every facet and has experienced a rise in illness and types of illnesses, poor infrastructural development and maintenance and the general condition of the economy has been kept alive by a very thin thread that may break at any time, the incompetent prime minister saw fit to use scarce resources, in excess of half a million dollars, to prove a point to himself, by landing a passenger aircraft at the airport at Argyle.

Even an idiot knows such an aircraft could land at Argyle even before the excavation began. Because all that was needed is adequate wing clearance, and because the stretch of road at Argyle was not lighted, there were very few obstructions in the form of lamp, telephone and other poles to impede the wing space of a landing and taking off aircraft. You may argue that the width of the road was insufficient, but it was not. It will also be important to note that such aircraft do not need a concrete or asphalt surface to safely land on and, although such surface creates an optimum condition to accommodate such landing, however, a paved surface is not necessary.

It is important to note that the USA has some over 19,000 aircraft landing facilities, 3,030 of those are general purpose aviation facility, and 378 are commercial facilities. It will also be important to know, of all of the aviation facilities in the USA, only one-third of such have a paved concrete and/or asphalt surface.

So it was more than obvious, a large passenger aircraft is capable of safely landing at the airport at Argyle and at the ET Joshua airport at Arnos Vale. Have you ever wondered why the highways in the USA are so scarcely lighted? That is because each highway is considered an emergency landing facility for a major aircraft in distress. As a result, such roads are left void of any obstruction, lamp poles, etc. that will or may impede the wingspan of a major passenger aircraft if they were to land on any such highway.

On the issue of ICAO certification of the airport at Argyle, there are larger airports with separate landing and takeoff strips that are better equipped, with a larger volume and better trained emergency response facilities, with better trained staff than that which exists at the airport at Argyle, and those airports have been waiting for international certification for quite a while now. They have failed to meet the minimum standard that is required for such certification and need to invest more monies to ensure their facility meets the minimum standards that are required for certification.

Too often, I am forced to ask myself the question: what is Ralph E. Gonsalves and his people are thinking or are they thinking at all. For too often, judging by the things that they choose to do, I often wonder if it is a case where a thought pops into their head and without any critical or rational thinking and everyone in robotic fashion just agrees with whatever is said.

You would have thought that the brilliant Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines would have conserved the state monies to facilitate the upgrades that will be needed to expedite the costly certification process that must be tackled in order for the facility at Argyle to be used for the purpose for which it was built.

It has taken the Ralph E. Gonsalves government over ten years to try to get accreditation for some of the courses at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, and to date the school is not accredited by a recognized accreditation institution and none of the courses the school offers is accredited, not even by an regional facility/institution like the UWI or similar.

If it is so difficult to get an institution such as the Community Collage up to accreditations standards, how much more difficult and costly it will be to get the airport up to such a standard for international accreditation, where we can enjoy the privilege of our other Caribbean neighbours such as Barbados, St Lucia Grenada, etc.

It means since our Windward Islands sisters can do it, St Vincent and the Grenadines can do it also. So the question is: did the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines consult its Caribbean technocratic counterparts to ascertain what will be required to achieve and maintain international airport certification. I hope that they have come to terms with the fact that attaining an accreditation for the school or the airport is just the first stage, but it is almost as much work to keep such accreditation.

Another point, I would like to raise here is the fact that, on completion of the airport at Argyle, the government is going to make a new city in that space. Does that mean that Ralph Gonsalves is planning to put Mustique Airways out of business, or has he already envisioned that the airport may not see operations to the scale of Grantly Adams International or the Piarco International in Trinidad and Tobago?

I conclude this for the main fact that there is no special facility to accommodate the small size and the lightweight aircraft that are operated by Mustique Airways. It is totally impossible for an aircraft with the small size and light weight of aircraft used by Mustique Airways to coexist on the same facility as the large mass passenger aircraft, without special accommodations.

When you consider the magnitude of force that is expelled from such an aircraft in its takeoff; the air velocity of a 747’s exhaust and other aircraft with such power will blow the small, light aircraft used by Mustique Airways away like paper in the breeze.

This is a sign that Ralph E. Gonsalves and his “bush” engineers did not take a lot of obvious things into consideration. Now there is the fact of the existence of small single and twin engines aircraft at the airport at Argyle without any special accommodations and the question of how long it is going to take to have that airport at Argyle, how much more money they will have to spend to accommodate the certification process.

Allan H. F. Palmer
Reads: 7249

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Allan, where were you when PM Gonsalves called on the private sector to come on board? He did so on several occasions. Mustique company report for duty. In other word, they came onboard. But the others were reluctant. Now that the AIA is reality, its not too late for them to do something.

Allan, what's up with all this noise about AIA, not internationally certify? I am surprised that you still talking all this nonsense.

January to December, 2016, cruise ship arrival: (99,542). Arrival by yacht: (47,575). Stay Over Visitor: (78,752). A total of 227,230.

SVG is in capable hand. Our future is bright.

H. James:

Please do point out for us, our good Observer, the name of the “investment vehicle” that we have so tardily missed, whereby interested parties in “the private sector” were “to come on board” or even may responsibly, get on board with this A.I.A project!

Talk is cheap our good Observer, especially when carelessly addressed to those of little learning! According to you, good Observer, our rabid socialist P.M, has invited members in the private sector “to come on board” and moreover, “He did so on several occasions,” so please do tell us by what investment vehicle, there created by this Neo-Colonialist P.M, extended family and collection of cronies is the investment vehicle thus created for us in order for us to take part in the A.I.A’s construction.

Which stock exchange was this vehicle launched good Observer? Indeed, do tell which Bank or investment house conducted the offerings? How were the shares or bonds in the project sold good Observer?

Do correct me if I am wrong good Observer, but to my understanding, the A.I.A was and is exclusively and wholly a Government sponsored and Government controlled/money borrowed project. Nevertheless, I will defer and submit to your greater wisdom and humbly awaits the pertinent information!

Allan H. F. Palmer:

H. James you are correct what was the medium for which the business community was to get on board. how were the people to benifit for the chaos that was created in the project to build the Airport at Argyle.

Ralph E. Gonsalves of getting on board was for people to hand over their hard own monies with no account of who and how much. there were no government bound issue no stock offered, no hope of a return on one's investment. Observer is just another Darn JA.

Observer is defending the indefensible. The Completion of the airport is just a small part of the big puzzel.


Allan, what are the objectives of your writing? I am a Vincentian, Ralph did not fool me! Landing jets at AIA on February 14 was simply an aspect of celebratory opening, that was the sole objective. What is preventing you from seeing that? Is it true you are upset with Ralph because he never entertain your business proposal? Certainly, Vincentians made a lot of sacrifice so AIA becomes a reality, its so glaring. How about you suggesting ways to make the Airport work instead of whining like a child. What do you want blood? The AIA there already.


g.b. some of my thoughts exactly! You actually read my mind.

Allan has a real bone to pick unlike most, so accordingly I let him handle his own demons. But, I still like the brother in spite of his “don’t make any darn sense, Allan”...! A bit overzealous and absurd in his manner, in his need to criticize PM Gonsalves and we know why. Moreover, he speaks of following Yahweh's way..., and acts like the devil.(lol).

Allan, straighten up and fly right nah! …Oh, and when you land your 737-200 jet, try not to land on any unpaved dirt strip, you might damage the jet engine!


James, stop being bias. On August 8th, 2005, PM Gonsalves stood in front of a pack audience, at the Methodist Church auditorium, in Kingstown. Where he'd outlined plans to construct an international airport on mainland, St.Vincent. Step by step detail, on how the government is going about this.

After which he assembled a coalition of the willing, to work on the project. During his speech, he called on the private sector to come onboard, he told them they'll be opportunity.

For instance, Cargo Terminal, Food court, Fuel Farm, Hangers, and retail shop ect. Rubis, came onboard, took charge of the fuel farm. Mustique company, took up the offer and constructed the first hanger. Followed by another that is under construction. James, most of you were shocked, couldn't believe your eyes when the actual work got started.

AIA, is a living organism. Linking SVG with the international community.

The first batch of breadfruit were shipped off to Miami last week, 40,000 pounds. According to Minister Ceaser Facebook page. This is on a weekly basis. WoW! While some are engage in mischief, the government is out there looking for market for Vincy produce.

To keep abreast with what's taking place, I often visit Hans King, Luke Browne, and Saboto Ceaser Facebook page.

Other sources of info, is via print/electronic media.

GB, you couldn't have said any better.

H. James:

Good observer, one at first have to review the word bias and in defining this word bias, we read “cause to feel or show inclination or prejudice for or against someone or something,” therefore, good observer, one thus have to ask you, where was the bias expressed in the questions that were previously asked?

May I further enquire of you this too, is the Government now airlifting Breadfruits to Miami? If so, at what cost to the treasury is this being done? And just how cost effective is such a venture?

Quite apart from those questions good observer, of Ralph Gonsalves, you wrote that he “outlined plans to construct an international airport on mainland, St. Vincent. Step by step detail, on how the government is going about this.” However, as I was not a member of that audience, I must take your word for it that this was so.

Moreover, you then added, “After which he assembled a coalition of the willing, to work on the project. During his speech, he called on the private sector to come on board, he told them they'll be opportunity.” Opportunity you say Observer? Opportunity for what Observer?

Firstly observer you wrote, “he assembled a coalition of the willing, to work on the project” But just who were those coalition of the willing may one ask you Observer? And how were they assembled?

Further, how were the willing “private sector” called to participate in the project? Who were the members of the Tender Boards if any were created and how were they constituting? When and where was the “Tenders” for Contracts, provision of construction, provision of services, and financing advertised my good Observer?

To quote you again good Observer, “he told them they'll be opportunity” therefore, may one further ask you, how were the private Sector “general opportunity” presented to none-ULP Vincentians, if they were not being offered through Offerings of Bonds or through Share Offerings?

You quite obviously knows more about the project’s construction than I do good Observer therefore, it would be most helpful if you could explain for me the workings of the following “For instance, Cargo Terminal, Food court, Fuel Farm, Hangers, and retail shop ect. Rubis, came on board, took charge of the fuel farm. Mustique Company, took up the offer and constructed the first hanger. Followed by another that is under construction.”

As an outsider looking in, I am given to understand that Cuban Contractors were contracted in to construct the project with “all Vincentians” “Tax payers borrowed” money, aided by earth moving equipment brought in from Venezuela, and the haulage works handed out to U.L.P party faithful.

Therefore, my good Observer, unless you can produce evidence to the contrary, this “general call” to “Private Sector” Vincentians, do appear to have been nothing of the sort but were merely empty gestures on the part of Ralph Gonsalves.

Further, judging by the number of U.L.P flags adorning the various haulage vehicles trundling through our roads, the A.I.A project had nothing to do with the workings of “sound economics” but appears to have been nothing but a cynical exercise in “political game playing” by the master of ruses.

However, no one would deny that the A.I.A now partially constructed “could” provide “additional links” to an international community but to say that it is the panacea and the all in all solution to all of our ills is just plain fanciful. A tale for simple people!

There is a lot that could be said about the wisdom of prioritising the A.I.A over and above other infrastructures on mainland SVG. For example, one may ask why prioritise the A.I.A over improving our townscape? Or why prioritise the A.I.A over improving the local health care facilities, improving industry, or even over the environment generally.

Above all why put the cart before the horse, is it because the thinking behind it all is on the assumption that, if we build the A.I.A, “simple” minded Vincentians acting as voters, would not question the wisdom of the economics employed?


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