Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton, has described talks of constructing an international airport by the Dominica Labour Party (DLP)-led administration as an “old movie” with a familiar ending.
Responding to the National Budget in parliament of Thursday, Linton said proper air access to Dominica has been the biggest setback to tourism growth which has been manifested “through the government’s failure, after 18 years in office and more public money per year than any previous administration had ever seen, to embark on the building of an international airport.”
“The empty election season promises of an international airport is an old movie with a regrettably familiar ending,” he stated.
According to Linton, in the fiscal year 2016/2017 the Ministry of Finance spent $1.6- million on “consultancy for the international airport” and an additional unbudgeted amount of $2-million dollars “to meet expenses relating to preliminary investigations for the construction of an international airport” – a total of $3.6-million.
“Yet, notwithstanding this expenditure of public money more than a year ago, we still do not know where the international airport will be located, how much it will cost… nor is there as much as a clue about likely commencement and completion dates,” he stated. “According to the Finance Minister, monthly amounts of $13.5-million have been transferred from the CBI account to an Airport Development Account in fiscal 2017/2018. But according to the 2018/2019 estimates, there is no plan to spend any money on an international airport in the three fiscal years commencing July 1st, 2018.”
He stated all that is being received is from the administration is “loose-lipped, election campaign babble about contracts coming soon and an airport terminal from empty cargo containers.”
“Enough kicking of the airport election campaign football already,” he remarked.
Linton said his United Workers Party will build an international airport in Dominica as a matter of top national development priority.
“We started the process with a feasibility study, an environmental impact assessment, agreement on a comprehensive financing package and the purchase of land in the most suitable location for an international airport in Dominica,” he stated. “Under this cannot-do DLP government, the country is now much further away from having this critical tool for economic growth than it was 18 years ago.”
During the presentation of the budget, Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit vowed that his DLP administration will construct an international airport in Dominica.