Dominica’s parliamentary opposition leader is urging the government of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to put the construction of an international airport on the front burner.
In his rebuttal to the national budget presented by Prime Minister Skerrit on Tuesday, Opposition Leader Hector John noted that St Vincent and the Grenadines was in the process of completing such a facility, and observed that Dominica too needed to construct an international airport to significantly boost air access to the island.
According to John the government has “wasted in excess of $300 million trying to improve Melville Hall Airport to accommodate night landing”.
“Dominica is properly located in the centre of the Caribbean and the land for the airport construction is available, with runway of over 10,000 feet and a modern terminal. The facility should be a one-stop shop for airport services in the Caribbean,” the opposition leader said, explaining that a United Workers Party government would make that a priority.
Opposition MP Norris Prevost who also zeroed in on the international airport issue, said this would also benefit the country’s farmers through the exporting of agricultural produce.
Opposition leader John during his presentation made a case for agriculture to be given “much more priority, to be given much more resources”.
Agriculture has been allocated $9.46 million of the $437.6 million.
John told parliament on Wednesday that that was grossly inadequate.
“We are not providing enough resources to ensure that the rural communities are relevant. Put people back to work, put the farmers back to work – give them incentives,” John urged.
After complaining that he found it difficult to properly critically analyze the budget because the opposition had only been given 21 hours by the Prime Minister to respond, John laced into the fiscal package, suggesting that “the budget presented lacks innovation”.
He expressed the view as well that the fiscal package didn’t make adequate provisions for measures to stimulate economic development.
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