PM Skerrit greets a child during a function in Canada recently

Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit has said that his government has started the process of land acquisition for the construction of an international airport in Dominica.

Speaking at a Town Hall Meeting in Canada he said it will cost the government about $60 million to acquire the land in the Woodford Hill, Wesley area.

He stated that the government has been saving every month towards the construction of the facility.

“What we have decided to do as a government is to save every month to construct the airport, to raise the funds to construct the airport, so every month we have been saving US$5-million from the Citizenship By Investment Programme to put into a special International Airport Development Fund,” he said. “And we have started the process of land acquisition.”

He stated noted that his government has given its commitment to landowners on the matter since funds are already in the bank to pay them.

“Once we settle on the price today, within 48 working hours you will get a cheque for your land because we want to ensure that the people whom lands we will be purchasing, we can pay them in a quick time,” he said.

He added, “We are also conducting some more detailed geotechnical studies because we have to have a better appreciation for the soil type here…”

He went on to say that his government has signed a contract for about US$2 million with an American firm to carry out the studies and to advise on the detailed drawings for the International Airport.

The construction of an international airport has long been spoken about in Dominica and this is not the first time that this administration has made public pronouncements about it.

In November 2013, during a visit to China, Skerrit signed a US$300-million deal with Chinese company ASCG with “reconstruction of an international airport” among projects to be undertaken under the agreement.

The following month, Skerrit said that engineers from China were in Dominica to visit the construction site proposed, in Compton Point near Calibishie, so as to provide advice to the government of Dominica.

At a Dominica Labour Party Rally on May 5, 2014, Skerrit said that his government was actively pursuing several projects, including the construction of an international airport through the BOOT – Build, Own, Operate and Transfer – option, with a team of private developers from China.

Later that same month, the Prime Minister led a three-man delegation to China to “advance discussions on the construction of an international airport and other development projects.”

Upon his return from China, Skerrit told reporters that “good progress” was being made on the project and a document will soon be made available to the public about the details. That document was never made public.

In March 2017, Skerrit spoke to a group of students from the North East Comprehensive School and said that the airport will be built in the north-eastern part of the island.

He said an American firm was engaged to do all of the studies in relation to the international airport and would be doing a presentation to the cabinet on the 21st of April, 2017 on its finding.

He did not disclose the name of the American firm.