Editor’s note: Below is the response of Norris Prevost, Member of Parliament for Roseau Central, to Minister of Public Works Rayburn Blackmoore’s claims that the UWP did not leave any money to build an international airport in Dominica.
“Mr Blackmoore’s claims that UWP did not leave money (EC$108-million) for the construction of a new airport, or that the airport designed by Stanley and Planning on Runaway “G” would not meet ICAO standards or would not be an all weather airport, are dead wrong and misleading,” member of Parliament for Roseau Central Norris Prevost has said.
According to Prevost, who was Minister of Ports under the UWP administration, “Mr. Blackmoore and his Labour Government chose the wrong airport and completely missed the flight in April 2003, when they rejected the motion which I presented to Parliament on behalf of the UWP, asking government to set up a special Committee comprised of Members of Parliament from all three political parties to work with government in arriving at the best short, medium and long term solutions, to Dominica’ critical air access problem.”
Quoting from the motion which he presented to Parliament entitled ‘Re-Examination of Possibility of Constructing the International Airport,’ to be found in the Hansard of Parliament for 28th April 2003, Prevost confirms the work done and money left by UWP.
The motion reads: “Whereas the Dominica Labour Party, the Dominica Freedom Party, and the United Workers Party all agreed in their 2000 Election Manifesto that an international airport was absolutely vital to Dominica’s medium and long term tourism development, and Dominica overall economic development;
And Whereas all three political parties committed themselves to the construction of an international airport;
And Whereas substantial work had been done by the UWP Government towards the construction of an international airport including, (1) purchasing the land (20 negotiation of 12.5-million Euros (EC$34.5-million) from the European Union and US$20-million from the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC);
And whereas at this moment Government intends to spend the bulk of the 12.5-million euros ($34.5-million) on improving Melville hall Airport;
And Whereas these improvements to Melville hall will only meet the very short term needs of Dominica’s tourism development;
And whereas a large investment in Melville Hall Airport at this stage would make it very difficult for Dominica to economically justify the construction of an international airport for the next 15 years;
Be it therefore resolved that government reconsiders its decision to light Melville hall Airport, and re-examine the possibility of continuing with the international airport.
And be it further resolved that parliament sets up a special Committee comprised of Members of Parliament from all three political parties, to work with govt in arriving at the best short, medium and long term solutions, to Dominica’ critical air access problem.”
Prevost stated that every member of the Labour Government voted against the construction of Dominica’s international airport.
The Halcrow Report confirmed technical feasibility of UWP design
Prevost stated that Stanley and Planning report page 1-5, guidelines and Assumptions, confirm that “ICAO standards apply”; p6-9 confirms runaway “ G” to have 99.85 wind coverage, less severe to moderate terrain problems, moderate excavation, moderate costs, and uninterrupted airport operation.
The technical feasibility of the project is further confirmed by The Halcrow Report, which concludes categorically p51 “..The scheme remains, however a technically feasible one and has been used as the basis for comparison with the option of upgrading Melville hall”.
“Mr. Blackmoore and the Labour Government’s claims are dead wrong, they are misleading and should be ignored,” Prevost concluded.