DLP Government hints of its intension to possibly relocate the Douglas-Charles Airport to a safer location?
The DLP Government appears to be leaking out hints of its intension to possibly relocate the Douglas-Charles Airport which is currently located in Melville Hall, and which was recently upgraded with over $100 Million; to a safer location? Prime Minister Skerrit gave such a hint this week.
Notwithstanding recent huge expenditures on the Melville Hall River, the Melville Hall Airport was flooded by waters from the river in August 2015, during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika, and again in March 2016. All Equipment at the facility were reportedly destroyed, as well as the fencing, runway, taxiway, and apron. Access roads were also damaged.
Skerrit said recently, “Clearly, we have to address the issue of the airport and the location of the airport because while we will build the retainer walls, where we will mitigate against any potential hazards, we have to look at a new and safer site for our airport, and this is a firm commitment on the government’s behalf.” The government then said that the airport suffered damages in excess of $41-Million.
Meantime, the Prime Minister is also pledging the DLP government’s support for the construction of a long talked-about international airport on the island. However, he now says government is incapable of funding that project by itself.
Skerrit also hinted that his government has been exploring different avenues for funding that project. He now says, “And once we are in a position to report to you firmly, then we will report back to you firmly.”
However, at a Dominica Labour Party rally, on May 5, 2014, Mr Skerrit announced that his government was actively pursuing several projects including the construction of an international airport through the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) option, with a team of private developers from China.
The records show that way back in November 2013, it was revealed that government had signed a $300-million deal with Chinese company ASCG for a number of projects in Dominica including “reconstruction of an international airport.”
And on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, the Prime Minister reportedly said that Chinese engineers were in Dominica to visit the proposed construction site of an international airport, in Compton Point near Calibishie, and to offer advice to the government. He said the government had already engaged ‘benefactors,’ partners and countries for financing for the project.
The records also show that on May 13, 2014, the DLP government announced that Prime Minister Skerrit was heading a three-member delegation to the People’s Republic of China, to advance discussions on the construction of an international airport and other development projects.
On June 4, 2014, Mr. Skerrit told reporters that talks on the airport were progressing, and a document will soon be made available to the public concerning details of the project.
Dominicans are hopeful that the DLP Government headed by Mr Skerrit will provide a clearer explanation as to the current status of their plans to build an International Airport in Dominica, in view of the fact that government recently spent over $100 Million to upgrade the Douglas-Charles Airport in its current location at Melville Hall; and now says that it plans to relocate that airport to a safer location; while at the same time also saying that it is going ahead with plans to build an International Airport in Dominica.
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