Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is optimistic that a meeting Friday with LIAT officials regarding the airline’s night flights into the island will yield favourable results.
Skerrit, who addressed a Dominica Diaspora Entrepreneurship Forum earlier this week, said that matters are expected to be finalized between the two parties on the issue.
“On Friday… I will be meeting with the officials of LIAT to seek to finalize the issue of they coming into Dominica, particularly from Antigua and Barbados at night, and I have no doubt that we will have positive results at those discussions on Friday,” he stated.
The prime minister took the opportunity to defend government’s decision to introduce night landing at the Melville Hall Airport as opposed to the construction of an international airport.
“There has been a debate among us, in the country and outside of Dominica, as to whether it is a waste of money to put at the Melville Hall Airport. Now, we’ve been waiting for an international airport for the last 25 years, more than that…. I believe that if we had taken that action 25 or 30 years ago to put night landing at Melville Hall back then, the issue of international airport today would not have been a matter for discussion because we would have that international airport,” he stated.
He added: “And this government is not opposed to an international airport as we’ve said…. But we have to appreciate that the airport cost money. So everybody’s saying we should build, we should build, we should build, but nobody is telling us how we should be build it and where we’re getting the monies to build the international airport.”
The prime minister believes that at an estimated cost of over US$400 million, obtaining funds for an international airport through borrowing is not a viable option as it will put the country into further debt.
“Are you saying that we should go and borrow the money to build it? Because I believe that airport will cost at least about US $400 million. So it’s a costly exercise. So we decided as a government that in the short to medium term, in terms of addressing air access into Dominica the better thing to do is to improve the Melville Hall Airport and introduce night operations,” he stated.
He said that while there are some who are “hoping and praying that no plane comes to Dominica at night” Dominicans should collectively encourage the airline to make night flights.
“I believe if the airline hears us in one single voice encouraging them to come in at night they will be more encouraged to come at night rather than the division in this country on a very important project,” he said.
“This investment, we believe, once we can get the night landing from LIAT and others going, it will serve a tremendous good for Dominica,” the PM stated.
Copyright 2012 Dominica News Online, DURAVISION INC. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.