COMMENTARY: Dominica’s new international airport 

Cdr. Bud Slabbaert

A brand new modern international airport is high on the wish list of Dominicans and subsequently high on the priority list of politicians. Most people who wish to have a new airport, envision that as soon as the airport is officially opened, sizeable airplanes from far away come in like flies to the syrup. Slow down! Let’s start at the beginning.

Nothing can be started, until the funding is secured. A fair estimate of the cost of such an airport is around 300 million US dollars. The cost could be somewhat lower or higher. There is more than just excavation, paving a runway and putting up a terminal. Where are you going to get that amount of money? Rest assured that there is no such a thing as generous angels or a free lunch. Wherever the money comes from or who makes it available, a return of investment is expected. If it was some type of loan, monthly installments need to be paid. And then of course there is the interest that needs to be paid.

Let’s do some calculating. 300,000,000 US$ over 20 yrs = 15,000,000 annually or divided by 12,  1,250,000 monthly that has to be paid back.  Of course, you can make it more appealing by stretching it over 40 years and then it is still 625,000 dollar per month.  Then of course there is interest that must be paid. Let take an unrealistic low interest rate of just 1%. That means in the first year, 3 million dollars in interest, which is 250,000 per month. Add that to the monthly installment and the amount will be 875,000 US$. How are you going to make those payments?

Passengers taxes? Okay, let’s estimate that your airport will handle 350,000 passengers and the passenger tax (facility tax or processing tax or whatever tax) is US$ 40 pp. That amounts to an annual revenue of 14 million US$ or 1.2 million per month. Great! But after loan payments and interest, only 325,000 is left and it isn’t profit. Operating an airport cost money (staff, utilities, maintenance). Let’s just say that it needs a staff of 70 persons (of course salaries vary) and take an average of US$ 3,000 pp per month which makes it 210,000 and still 115,000 left over. Now there are utility bills that need to be paid, cost for marketing, maintenance, etc.

Why is this calculation incorrect? Wait until the comments below this article are coming in. Many readers will point out what the flaws are. Yet, mind that this calculation is only food for thought and anyone can give it his or her own twist in a comment. For one, experts in aviation or financing may say that the estimated numbers are too optimistic.

How long will it take to build such an airport? Let’s just say two years. (When will the development start?) However, in those two years there will be no revenue, just bills that need to be paid. No passengers. Major airlines don’t just come on promises and they are no opportunists. They are risk adverse. They analyze the route potential and calculate before making any decision. Regional carriers will come anyway, you already have some. But for the larger international airways to come, it will take lead time. How long? Six to twelve months, provided that the island will attract enough potential passengers to guarantee an 85% plus passenger load.

If as indicated the project might start six months from now. The development and construction will take two years. The leadtime for the first major international airline to come is six months. That makes three years until the Dominican wish may be realized, if there are no hurdles or delays.

 

Second part: Alternative Airlift for Dominica

Third Part: More about Dominica air lift and airports

Fourth Part: Last comments on airlift and airport in Dominica

Cdr. Bud Slabbaert is the chairman and initiator of the annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup conferences. The international results and solution oriented event brings airlift stakeholders from both aviation and tourism industry, as well as government authorities together. Mr. Slabbaert’s  background is accentuated by aviation business development, strategic communication, and journalism.

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73 Comments

  1. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    August 15, 2018

    Has anyone considered building one in the sea? We know that the Atlantic Ocean on the Eastern Side of the island may not be suitable. How about outside Roseau or the Goodwill Road Area in the Caribbean Sea? Would it be more cost effective to clear a few mountains or just build one in the sea on reclaimed land?

  2. Ti Garcon
    August 15, 2018

    This simple analysis was based on very favorable conditions, which wont exist in reality. Its more likely that a new IA will cost in the region of US$500 million, and will be very expensive to maintain. Interest rates wont be as low as 1% but more realistically in the 5-8% range. Repayment time would be 20-30 year frame.

    Why so expensive? The best place to build an IA is in the Woodfordhill/ Wesley area, and that would mean buying out and/or replacing these villages. Not only that, most people livelihoods are dependent on these lands so loss of income will also have to be factored in.
    Also, based on the UWP designs of 1999, THREE RIVERS will intersect the airstrip. Basically an IA will create a flood plain for these rivers to run wild. No one mentions this, but it’ll be costly to negate the problem, and risks involved will spike insurance rates.
    Didn’t the UWP take loans with interest rates of 17% in 1999 to ‘fund’ the airport? so why do we believe 1% rates are available?

  3. CONSCIOUS
    August 15, 2018

    There are alot of problem with the tourist department in Dominica. I live in America. DOMINICA is still unknown, therefore the people employed have not been doing a great job. Initiative to advertise Dominica are not exployed. Invest in the advertisememt of Dominica and there will be return. Have you ever looked at “THE PRICE IS RIGHT” St Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica are advertise on that show. Are our people asleep. Government officials travel what do they bring back. Do they bring back ideas? The amount of money spent on that Marigot river bed for an airport is a disgrace.

  4. International
    August 14, 2018

    Where this man came from all of a sudden ….people like this man want Dominica to really take down I wonder who send him….So if other islands built an international airport what is the difference with Dominica building one.I wondered where were he when the other islands were building their airports why didn’t he object. Man who ever send you tell them you haven’t seen Dominica .Leave us alone to build our international airport is fraid you all fraid that Dominica will by pass or islands hmm .Cinderella will become a jem one day.

  5. Mike
    August 14, 2018

    Just like cooking the Golden Goose…. think long term

  6. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    August 14, 2018

    I thought that geothermal energy would significantly decrease utility cost on the island when it became operational, but I digress a bit here. The current malaise that is Dominica’s air access cannot continue for much longer. Bud is spot on with his analysis, but his posting is a road map in my opinion and not the final nail in the casket. Hence, marketing, coupled with infrastructural developments and new hotel must begin ASAP!

  7. Sisserou
    August 14, 2018

    Boy dem man might meet some big stone… Some very big stone while building the airport. Ask petite savanne people…

  8. sackway gwo boudeh
    August 14, 2018

    Boy shut your mouth… go back where u come out… is all you so that want to see D A stay back while your place of origin move forward… if the government really wanted to build that airport they would have done so… Most of our regional neighbors have airports, why they can do it and we cant? Dominica just priding itself on staying behind everybody else, and entitled fools like this dude endorsing this backward behaviour!

    • Jah Bless
      August 14, 2018

      That man must be a spin doctor. If the Govt had dont what you are suggesting 18 years ago, we would not be having this conversation. we were told we dont need one by St. Vincent PM and now they have theirs.

    • Realistic
      August 14, 2018

      Airport… What about Joke, Dream still. Dominica and Dominicans are not ready for it. Everyone is trying to get outta Dominica for a reason, the place is backwards, the population is declining, Why? Where will the thousands of people
      on these large airliners stay? Olive’s Guesthouse in Atkinson? There isn’t enough hotel rooms to sustain a international airport. I would like to fly straight into Dominca without all the
      Hassles and expense of overnighting but the fact is Dominica and Dominicans are not ready for it, absolutely
      no infrastructure or systems, international airport what a fantasy !

    • Observant
      January 4, 2019

      Dominica already has an international airport. Flights come in from Guadeloupe and Martinique which is Europe, and other countries. Dominica highly likely will never be ready to handle the influx because it cannot deal with the rhythm and speed of service transatlantic tourists expect. You will have to make them give you high rates! Having lived in Dominica for ages I know high rates are very rare.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotourism

      Mass eco-tourism is an oxymoron, a contradiction. What you have today is what you’ll have tomorrow, boeings/airbus or no boeings/airbus landing on Dominica shores. It will make no difference. All the hotel projects will make little difference if hotel construction licenses have no marketing contract included to attract people from Morrocco, Canada, US and China. Mind that it seems to be the attempt to have these hotels filled with travelers with the idea to coax to sighting locations unless these hotels are Casino resorts with many laundry…

  9. Africo
    August 14, 2018

    There are two other reasons in favour of constructing a new airport at a new location:
    1. The difficult approaches at Douglas-Charles, Melville Hall: Into the hills and down the valley or from the sea towards the hills, which has dogged us since it was first built.
    2. The need to be above the flood waters of Melville Hall River.
    Indications are that the proposed alignment is more or less along the original route that ME Charles was presented with but she rejected in 1988. If it had been built then we would be well on our way: Approach over the sea at Hodges. Take off over the sea at Eden near Wesley. Clear approach. No hills in the way.

    True it will take time for international airlines to decide to land with scheduled flights but at least we will be available. Argyle, St. Vincent has been open for the past couple years. But at last American airlines has agreed to begin a flight direct from Miami once a week from December 2018. It took time and it is not often, but its a…

  10. jackarie
    August 14, 2018

    Bud you need to wake up. Your eyes looking like it closed. If every country had to think about the cost and all what you talk about there before they build an international airport then we would be travelling on hot air balloons. St. Vincent built theirs and in less than no time Air Canada initiated direct flights to St. Vincent. We selling enough passports that repaying this loan cannot and should not be a problem. The government can easily afford to play less games with the CBI money and put in to good use.

  11. DOMINICA AVIATION
    August 14, 2018

    It may not take 2 yrs. Since weather & many other factors may create a delay.

  12. August 14, 2018

    This commentary is only warning us to be cautious. A new and bigger airport is needed and I must add overdue. We must however be mindful our mistakes of the past, the attempt by the UWP government to build an airport started and ended with the purchase of land worth 16 million $$, the rest of the funds obtained for this airport venture was used to pay government salaries and other current expenditures. This diversion of funds happened because Dominica was a poor country then and still is, perhaps at a lower level, porverty restricts the ability government to raise large capital. So the financial plan for this airport must from the start establish what instalment we can afford to pay, how much concessionary finance we can get, the level of grant financing and how much we can raise from our own resources. A sound financial plan must be in place before earth movement starts. This project is doable but it requires a very prudent financial approach.

  13. dominica need international airport
    August 13, 2018

    Dominica need an international airport, even though it take time to bring inverters,everything take time. If you don’t start now

    Dominica need an international airport, even though it takes time, everything takes time. If you don’t start to walk to the place you re going you ll never arrive your destination.

  14. BBA
    August 13, 2018

    Well, it is evident that Bud S is against an international airport in DA; however, one is not impossible. It is time Dominicans stop struggling to get to the island from various parts of the world. I noticed that he didn’t offer any sggestions for a solution. No mention of investments, something that may be the owners of Ross U could have been part of if they cared an ayotta for helping Dominica instead of their pockets.
    Pls sir, Dominica needs positivity; people to come to the forefront, with ideas for advancement.

  15. Kishon
    August 13, 2018

    Skerritt acolyte he is. When will stop have Europeans tell us how to run our affairs?
    It’s about time we show these ppl the world don’t belong to them and fight or even die for ours

  16. Mahaut
    August 13, 2018

    Bud,listen to me first off all u are not a Dominican , and if skidoo pay you to come say that go kiss hismother man.you guys playing games with our children future. So

    • Friendlyelse
      August 14, 2018

      @Mahaut he is being realistic. I know he is not Dominican but think about it for a minute, can Dominicans full enough flights to be able to maintain the airport? Dont get me wrong, I do agree we need to be able to get home faster. More importantly we need an airport for the economy to start moving again but every single point he brought up, I hate to say it but he is on point.

      • Be realistic
        August 14, 2018

        So what makes you think is Dominicans alone will full the flights.Now you are the one needs to be realistic.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
      • Newton
        August 18, 2018

        Nothing this guy said mqles sense. The guy is saying that there challenges to building an international airport and not challenges specific to Dominica, but general challenges which is pretty obvious. All countries with just built international airports go through these challenges, so what is his point exactly. Clearly pointless. The guy added absolutely nothing of value!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • Beryl Hector
      August 14, 2018

      Mahaut, you’re awful. Being disrespectful isn’t constructive. You gave nothing to the conversation/ discussion.?

  17. August 13, 2018

    CDR BUDD SLAB
    This is one of Dominica’s problem. Bud Weiser is just a distraction to Dominica’s progress. He is just fake news. Who is he? Can you believe this SLAB is real..Don’t let this distractor waste your energy.
    If St. Vincent can have an international airport why can’t Dominica.

    • Pondering
      August 14, 2018

      St Vincent population is much higher than Dominica. It also not as mountainous.

  18. Praying for DA
    August 13, 2018

    Dominica probably is in need of an international airport, but, first, they need to rebuild and market Dominica. Now is not the time and definetly not this administation.

  19. mine
    August 13, 2018

    Sir, you are not God, if it’s meant to be it will happen.

  20. REAL!!!!!
    August 13, 2018

    PM said he has $149M(EC) already for the airport and he is putting aside $5M(US) monthly.
    Cost for the Airport $300M(US)….Time to build is 3years according the gentleman above.
    If we took a loan out $300M(US); $810M(EC) @1%….40yrs, Payment 900K(US) monthly.

    My plan for 3years of building with payments.
    A. 5M(US) monthly(Govt put aside), 900K(US) pay loan and 4.1M(US) to an account of lending institution for safe keeping monthly.
    B. Draw down $300M(EC)-from the loan) +$149M(EC)-Skerrit is holding) invest in a financial vehicle giving 5% per annum return on capital. 3 yrs later $515M(EC) approx.
    C. $300M(EC) from the safe keeping over 3yrs would be draw down for the project leaving $96M(EC)
    D. After 3yrs , GOVT would have $515M(EC) +$96M(EC) =$610M(EC) to refinance the $810M(EC) loan.
    E. New refinance would be done on principal EC $200M( $810M-$610M) @1%..25yrs. Monthly payment $850K(EC)..NOTED(EC)
    Mr. Bud and PM. Skerrit our Minister of Finance tell me why this cannot be…

  21. roadsideVendor
    August 13, 2018

    As the child of a single parent who has been a vendor for all her life, I have witnessed my mom time and time again accomplish what many around her considered unattainable because of her financial situation.

    she never used the word “Can’t” when confronted with challenges, instead she would talk to herself (like a crazy lady- poor ma ) asking… “How can it be done?”, how can she resolve the problem?

    I am certain that if I we were to asked My Mom, my favorite person in the whole world.. Can DA afford an international Airport her response would not be a one word answer but rather a question; “HOW CAN DA AFFORD AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT? She believes that by asking the right questions we set our brains in motions to finding answers to our concerns.

    I urge all of us to try to answer the how question…

    How can DA afford an international airport?

    The available options for so doing will surprise many of us on here but I know that we can, we just have to figure out how.

  22. keepingItReal
    August 13, 2018

    Dear author,

    your analytic piece was logically constructed but in my opinion,too narrow in scope. It left out some crucial considerations that just might make the construction of the International airport one of the most viable economic engines ever procured for the Dominican economy;

    First and foremost…the level of job creation the airport construction would generate will be unprecedented. skilled and unskilled labor force, vendors, taxi drivers, heavy equipment operators, companies involve in transporting equipment and construction materials…e.t.c.

    New private investments will position themselves to benefit from the new airport… we can easily imagine the constructions of close by accommodations and entertainments venues for overnight passengers.

    once the airport is up and functional, the annual dollar amount that it’s 350000 (your estimated number) passengers would spend while in Dominica will have a huge impact on the Dominica economy. $350 K * US$100 = US$35M…

  23. Mike
    August 13, 2018

    I certainly agree with the simplified financial assessment, and have been making these same arguments for years. Biggest beneficiaries would be expatriate Dominicans (like me) who would access to much more efficient and potentially cheaper transportation to the island. But what this article should do is look beyond the obvious financial burdens that will come with this venture, and focus on the economic opportunities that will now be possible.
    For example, people with connection to Dominica may be encouraged to visit more often.
    Having this infrastructure is critical to Dominica’s long term economic development. But, it is incumbent on the government to educate the people why this must be done, recognizing that there will be short term financial pain, for long term economic gain.
    Rather unfortunate that this venture is being viewed through the lens of local party politics, and not what is best for Dominica.

  24. CB BOSS
    August 13, 2018

    Explore the hemp and medicinal marijuana industry. We will be begging or owing no one. Then everything else will fall in place with the proper infrastructure in place of course.

    St. Vincent is already training its citizens to welcome this very lucrative industry.

    I will now crawl back into the hole hence I came.

  25. AP George
    August 13, 2018

    Build it and they will come! Then, the government will work harder and more strategical in their development thrust – since they’d now have this airport obligation! You cannot be truly independent having to depend on others for your livelihood. So what happens on the day when the airports in Antigua and Barbados are closed – hurricane, earthquake? Plus these countries take revenues (hotel/taxes, etc) that would otherwise go directly to Dominica. A business or investor just want to see you HAVE the infrastructure when deciding to invest. The new airport will open up Dominica to many more investment opportunities. You see what has happened to Dominica WITHOUT an international airport – so now, let’s see what happens when we HAVE one. Just do it!

  26. Brave
    August 13, 2018

    Had we done it 25 years ago it would not be an issue now. If we wait for 25 years into the future, it will be a bigger issue then. The cost may double even triple 25 years from now. 25 years ago 150 milllion USD was enough to do just what you’re implying. Dominicans keep saying “no we cant”… other nations keep saying “yes we can”

  27. Jack Charlton
    August 13, 2018

    The back-of-the-envelope airport economics presented by Cdr. Slabbaert are informative and useful. A good comparative case scenario could also be made using Argyle International Airport recently completed in St. Vincent. It seemed that the building of Argyle was powered more by ego than economic sense. Initially costed at $220 million it was completed 5 years late at an estimated $1billion. The paucity of international travellers currently using Argyle cannot possibly make it an economic success. Hopefully for them this will change.
    More flights and expanded ground facilities at our present Inter-Island airport is a realistic attainable goal. There are other priorities. How about a decent hospital for starters?

    • August 14, 2018

      There is a pause in the construction of the new hospital due to Maria, this hospital is a gift from China.

  28. Appreciative reader
    August 13, 2018

    Many thanks for this commentary.
    It provides good ‘food for thought’.

  29. A_DAMassive
    August 13, 2018

    Cdr Slabbaert, I understand and agree with the point you made with reference to financing; And it is very clear. However, if someone had provided Dr. Ralph Gonsalves with your analysis, would the Argyle international Airport exist? How did Gonsalves do it? Would you have advice him to not build one because of the associated cost? It is the timing of your piece that is making it very interesting. Hope you are not being an apologist for a particular cause?

    The main issue is more about the effective management of the country. Let us take a look at the upgrade at Melville Hall Airport. Do you not believe that if the money was spent on an international airport, it would have been a better expenditure? How many millions were wasted in a location which is know to be prone to flooding by both the river and the sea?

    If China wants us to continue voting with it in the UN, then they should come up with something good for our votes, and will not damage the fragility of our economy!!

    • gardezPousCow
      August 13, 2018

      China is looking out for China..i’m afraid it’s Dominica that’s not looking out for itself.
      somebody!! anybody!!! Please Make DA Great Again!

    • ??????????
      August 13, 2018

      Did the man say not to build an Airport???? You seem and many have a problem of reading and understanding. They interpret as what they want to hear (then politicize it). The article speaks of facts about financing for building an International Airport.

      Good article! to build or not to build is not emphasized just an analysis of what to expect during and after.

      • A_DAMassive
        August 13, 2018

        ??????????, you need to re-read the first line of the first and second paragraphs of the original piece! Then you can and should apply the first line of your response.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • Newton
        August 18, 2018

        It seems that you have an inability to read in-between the lines. In any case you should check out his next article. Furthermore, while you may appreciate it, bringing up general challenges which are obvious to building an international is absolutely pointless. He never once highlighted challenges specific to Dominica. Unfortunately the purpose of this commentary isn’t just to be informative.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  30. Man Himself
    August 13, 2018

    Thanks for doing the hard thinking of which our government seem incapable, and with regard to which our population seems unwilling to engage. Years ago the math against such a project militated and it still does. My view is that we must have improved connections and also acquire the service of STOL aircraft that leave the US and can fly to Dominica directly. We do not have the economy in way of tourism or other income to make payments for such an airport expense or to maintain it. The current airport we have is often poorly kept, often their toilets are in poor repair. Where we cannot even properly maintain our current airports how can we build another? We have to be practical and work out innovative ways to facilitate air access.

  31. zandoli
    August 13, 2018

    If passengers are concerned about connecting to Dominica, very few will get there without having connected at some other airport except perhaps Miami and London.

    American Airlines will likely be the only US airline to service Dominica and the most likely routing would be MIA/DOM/MIA. There will be no flight out of New York or anywhere else in the US. From New York it would be LGA/MIA/DOM. How is that different from LGA/BGI/DOM? Currently the difference is that one has to overnight in B’dos. If the government demanded LIAT provide connections within a couple of hours of arrival in B’dos, I really do not see the need for an international airport.

    I travel for business a lot. I live in a major city and there are only few cities I can fly directly into. I usually have to connect in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago or Detroit. What we need are good connections out of Antigua, Barbados, San Juan or St. Maarten.

  32. playboy
    August 13, 2018

    Thank you, Bud, thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Joyand Charles
    August 13, 2018

    So let’s do some value engineering here and reduce the price tag to $200M with also 40 years to pay back. Would the project now be within striking range?

  34. waypapa
    August 13, 2018

    This is what the govt needs to discuss with us and tell us how feasible it is . They never did that and this is why a serious entity as RUSM realized that the PM was not ready or serious. Because all you shouting I love my PM all you think people out there stupid? shout still while the boat is sinking.

  35. Jheri
    August 13, 2018

    We’re not getting an airport
    Not only do we not have the tourists to justify it
    we barely have the population
    It’s the same reason why the British Virgin Islands
    with a significantly more robust tourism market and economy
    relies on St. Thomas, VI for it’s passengers.
    It’s why Anguilla which has a significantly more robust tourism market
    and economy when compared to Dominica
    relied on Saint Martin for many of its air travelers.

    • Observant
      January 4, 2019

      Too many immature dreamers floating on unrealistic hopes without a shred of economic sense.

      For all you wondering, a little effort gets you in one day from a capital in the US or Europe to Melville Hall. Get Skyscanner app and do the test. All you need you have already. All the rest is prestige and propaganda politics.

  36. Joyand Charles
    August 13, 2018

    So lets do some value engineering and bring down cost to $200M with 40 years to pay back. Could this now be within striking range?

    Curious from the sidelines….

  37. I am mine own
    August 13, 2018

    So we are darned if we build and darned if we don’t.

  38. Ron
    August 13, 2018

    Once again we look forward to a whiteman to tell us what we can do. This man has not quoted a source , yet we publish him

    • waypapa
      August 13, 2018

      Not all articles need source, this one needs common sense to analyse it. I suspect its above your head so kindly take your seat.

    • Free Mason
      August 13, 2018

      Why would he need to quote a source to write an OPINION piece?? Those are his thoughts and calculations, no source is necessary. Chupes!

  39. Wayne Shaw
    August 13, 2018

    A little depressing this article. For the good of Dominica the airport needs to be constructed without delay to ensure the future of all Dominicans. The Government has pussy footed over this for too long. Yes they have talked the talk as usual but failed to come up with a realistic plan to move forward. It can be done, like projects all over the world, it can be done. Yes loans must be paid back, but this project will ensure a lot of work for Dominicans and when operating the economy will start to live again and the rewards will be great followed by further investment. The Government is always saying how good they are with promises of investment but nothing comes of it just talk talk talk. Come on it can be completed and if the Government are unable or unwilling then move aside and leave it for others to succeed. Dominica needs this Airport so let’s get planning now!

  40. duck1951
    August 13, 2018

    Looks like a good viable explanation to me. Maybe we should look at some reasonable limited expansion that we can afford .

  41. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    August 13, 2018

    ………………………

    Where it pertains to Dominica, all little bits scum of the earth comes talking, who appoints you god over Dominica? We are not all ignorant and dumb as you are, so let inform you; when when the late Paul Southwell born in the village Castle Bruce Dominica became Premiere St. Kitts for a brief period during the West Indies Federation.

    Paul decided to build an International Airport in St. Kitts, the skeptics like you ran their mouth off saying no International flights will ever take place in St. Kitts. the late Dr. Erick Williams of Trinidad & Tobago said if non-other fly there the National Airline will fly to St. Kitts, history prove the the ignorant like wrong!

    It was the same idiots like you said about St. Lucia, Grenada, and St. Vincent lately, take a look you see International Flight in/out of St. Vincent. Where do you come from; are you stupid?

    • Joseph John
      August 13, 2018

      This man is a typical white plantation owner who do not think black people deserve any progress.. His profile is that of one leading a safari with black people carrying his stuff on their heads while following him. The amazing thing is that some of us are giving him credibility instead of telling him off.
      The man is just seeking social status to boost his ego….. boo !

    • Joseph John
      August 13, 2018

      This man is not stupid, just wicked. A proper airport of international standard is a must. This is not a partisan issue. Its a survival issue. When St Kitts lost the sugar industry Bradshaw and Southwell decided an international airport is a must because they saw tourism as the economic driver to replace sugar. Colonial Britain was reluctant to help so they made a deal with Britain to forgo Financial assistance for five years and finance the airport. . St Kitts had 3 small hotel at this time: of these , one a bungalow type and one purchased from Hilton. Agreed, it worked . No one objected because of hotel stock or volume of tourist. That was in the mid 70’s. Look at St Kitts today.
      Patrick John tried the British, French, Americans Canadians and Venezuelans. The Canadians did a study but would not finance it . The French was interested but a stadium first. Venezuela decide on a pilot project at Canefield. It would have been his other legacy. It’s now or never for us.

  42. Teddy
    August 13, 2018

    I agree with this analysis, building an international airport will plunge Dominica into debt and severely curtail any prospects for future growth. Dominica was able to access World Banks loans, and not run to the IMF post Maria because of our low debt to GDP ratio. We fail to see that no new taxes were added in the last budget- had we been forced to the hands of the IMF there would be weeping and the gashing of teeth.

    Jamaica’s struggles with debt and now Barbados, are glaring examples of necessary debt will kill future growth in a nation because of lack of access to capital.

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      August 13, 2018

      Teddy you are allowing that idiotic man to make a fool out of you, no country in this universe can function without debt; even the richest nation on earth, with the largest economy on the planet, the United State owe money in the billions to China!

      In the year 2000; the UWP was building an International Airport at a cost of just over three hundred million dollars, Roosevelt Skerrit and the other clowns shut it down when they formed the coalition government; they said it was too expensive.

      Looking at  St. Vincent newly inaugurated International Airport, it was built at a cost of over seven hundred million dollars, US or EC that is a lot of money, in any event that is the price people pay for development, progress and prosperity in their country!

      If we had put the country debt to accomplish a functioning International Airport, Ross would not have kissed Dominica bye!

      Tell that idiot to take his disparaging nonsensical trash and shove it! Spend money to make money!

      • Boman
        August 13, 2018

        Francisco, Mr Stabbaert just presented a set of illuminating construction and operational costs. He didn’t say anything about not building the IAP. Why are you always soooo quick to call people dumb, stupid and ignorant. Although most countries like the US operate with a debt, a smart man like you know they print their own currency. The last time I checked DA does not. I’m not sure the last time you visited DA, but even if an IAP was built you’d not come home more often.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
      • Boman
        August 13, 2018

        Francisco, Mr Stabbaert just presented a set of illuminating construction and operational costs, at no time did he say we shouldn’t build an IAP. Why are you always sooo quick to call people dumb, stupid and ignorant. Although it’s true most countries like the US operate with a debt, you left out a major fact. Dominica doesn’t print it’s own currency! You’re crazy about building the IAP, but I’m sure you wouldn’t visit DA any more frequently than you do now.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        August 13, 2018

        Boman, the facts that you believe that man presented, is not in your interest nor the interest of our nation!

        Remember this; while Ralph Gonzales Prime Minister of St. Vincent came to Dominica, at the invitation to tell our people that Dominica does not need an International Airport, all we need is what we have at Melville Hall, Ralph was in negotiation to build an International Airport in St. Vincent which is operation today.

        Make some comparisons between St. Vincent and Dominica prior to Erika, and the recent Maria: Which of the two islands had the better economy; you will find St. Vincent lagged far behind. If we all the unconcern who has no interest in our country to always give us bad advise and we follow as that man is doing to hurt our country, Dominica will the way it is for ever!

        Let us do what we believe is appropriate for our country,if we are wrong so be it, we do need any dumb opinions! 

        To be continued:

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7
      • Gary
        August 14, 2018

        Do you read to understand or do you read to criticize, you do the latter, read to criticize, very sad. You think you are intelligent, but you are not, you yap too much. Why do you go about calling people idiots, using such language only shows a defect in your ability to understand and reason.

        You mention things you do not understand, like, “no country in this universe can function without debt; even the richest nation on earth, with the largest economy on the planet, the United State owe money in the billions to China!” Why do you look at things at the surface or appearance, you doing so will always be in perpetual ignorance, it’s what you have been always doing.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        August 14, 2018

        Gary, I read and understand everything that man wrote; I can tell you he is full of it. You all can believe him because his faces is yellow; mine is black, but I do not need a degree in economics, nor statistics to refute his garbage!

        He could be commander of every thing on earth, he is not more intelligent than I am, everybody can give me thumbs down, but at the end of the day he is simply out to help screw up the country in a worst way it is.

        He has no interest in Dominica than the bull he is talking. They come fooling you left right, left and center, like infants, who cannot think, but even babies do know when they wet their beds to cry, so that their parent can them.

        you all are too dam backward, Listen to him take his advise the result will be Dominica remain stagnant!

        It is a very bad thing when people cannot think for themselves!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
      • Truth
        August 14, 2018

        Telemaque I can shake your hand your comment is well articulate. I have never agreed with you before but you couldn’t have said it any better.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  43. Joseph John
    August 13, 2018

    He may be all that , but a negative attitude is not the gateway to success. If he has the expertise why don’t he explain how we can overcome the difficulties of time and motion involved. Success is not a given especially for poor underdeveloped countries with limited resources, and limited flat land. BUT IT CAN BE DONE. In fact it must be done. This is one government policy I am in total agreement with . There are many Dominicans who want direct same day arrival from both sides of the Atlantic. There are many countries WITH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS with Dominica that can be used as sources for tourism.
    This negative slant must be coming from people with alternative motive. ULTERIOR MOTIVES, AND ARE NOT IN OUR FAVOUR.
    These detractors conveniently forgot the economy of scale. The bigger the plane the better the price of tickets and air freight. There is the plus of clustering/bundling the tourist industry as the main driver of the economy with Agriculture and Construction.

  44. Ti Garcon
    August 13, 2018

    I like this guys thinking/ advice. An international airport will be a major strain on the country, and a debt we wont be able to repay. We need to ask ourselves do we want to pay 20-25% VAT for an airport which 70% of native Dominicans wont even use in 10 year period. St Vincent is a glaring example of the shortfalls of an international airport. Lets not be stereotypical blacks people and want something we cant pay for, just because our neighbor have it as a status symbol.

  45. REAL!!!!!!!
    August 13, 2018

    What are you saying this to say!!!!. An INTL airport in my view justification for building should not be link to it being a profitable venture but to the business entities it will create and support to drive profitability/ revenues.`

    We don’t need a large INTL airport ……we just need an INTL landing airport strip and a decent building to house our passengers.

    The INTL airport is like the internet supported on fiber as compare one supported on copper coaxial. People need to get in and out of Dominica FAST , RELIABLE. SAFE and with Minimal disruption.

    The internet network itself does not make a profit it is the ecommerce business it drives as spin off that makes money.

    So our job as a GOVT /people would be to develop business products on island to attract consumers to come to our island knowing our INTL airport will be coming( so we have 2years to do so)……..most importantly we will now be able to attract credible foreign investment that can go the distance.

  46. Asaka W
    August 13, 2018

    Thanks Mr. Slabbaert for the breakdown. You write from experience and graciously provide the level of detail that the average Dominican may not consider when they think of an international airport. Indeed the figures are astounding and should incite the planners to consider financial funding sources and long term ramifications of such a venture. While the islanders may opt for an international airport they may best be served with a larger airport (not next to a flooding river) that can better support the island more efficiently.

  47. Bring back the parrots
    August 13, 2018

    There is plenty of money, may be over 600 million cash so no need to borrow the money just pay cash, the PM has been selling passports under the CBI program for over 15 years he needs to make a withdrawal from his personal bank account in Florida.

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