Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said that his government will deliver on its promise of constructing an international airport in Dominica.
The government recently announced that a United States-based firm was on the island conducting studies for the construction of the facility and will present its findings to Cabinet on April 21, 2017.
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Cottage on Sunday, April 2, 2017, Skerrit said he has seen the reports and is ‘comforted’ that the government will deliver on its promise.
“I have seen the report, I have the report before me and I am very comforted and very assured that Dominica will have its international airport and the Labour Party, as the Labour Party has always done in the history of our country, will bring the international airport to Dominica,” Skerrit said.
The Prime Minister noted that looking back at the history of the country, every important element of Dominica’s social and economic advancements was initiated and or implemented by the Labour Party.
“Whether it is Ross University, whether it’s the Melville Airport, Douglas Charles Airport now, whether it’s the West Coast Road, whether it’s the road to the East, whether it is water, whether it light, whether is education, the Labour Party has always been in the forefront of creating ideas and mechanisms on improving the lives of our people,” he stated.
Meantime the Prime Minister is blaming former Prime Minister, Edison James and the United Workers Party for Dominica not having an international airport.
“We’ve spoken about International Airport for a very long time. Dame Eugenia Charles, may her soul rest in peace, because of our friendship with the US Government promised to assist with the International Airport…Mr. James, the then leader of the opposition, wrote to the Americans to say to them that they should not come to build an Airport because it would interfere in an election in Dominica,” Skerrit said.
The Prime Minister said that while there will always be politics, and there will always be people who support one party and support another, there are some fundamental things in Dominica which should never allow politics to come in the way.
“It was bad politics, it was bad statesmanship on the part on Mr. James and the Workers Party to have written to the Americans to say to them they should not come to build the airport for us…We would have had our operating airport in the 80’s in the 90’s,” Skerrit said.
This is not the first the administration has spoken about constructing an international airport in Dominica.
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.
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.