Saturday, August 26, 2017


A View of The Point Round Location
Since 2004 Dominicans have been bombarded with lies on matters related to the construction of an international airport. As recently as April of 2017 the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told a town hall gathering in Cottage that he has seen the recent reports for the international airport and that he is comforted that the government will deliver on its promise. We are still wondering whether the congenital liar is referring to the report that was presented on July 31, 2017 for the improvement of Meleville Hall or was he alluding to the report that was promised in 2013, prior to the general elections.

We are also surprised by the fact that with this elevated rhetoric on the international airport, the Prime Minister will not provide any details on his latest plans for the international airport. The people have been trying to figure out the location for the DLP airport proposal and whether or not the DLP government will swallow its foolish pride and continue with the plans that the UWP administration had in place for the construction of the new airport? If the PM is happy with the report that he has seen why not inform the nation of the location/site that is under consideration. After all It is the people’s right to be part of the planning process. But then again we are dealing with da government that rule by demagoguery. 

It is also perplexing that Roosevelt Skerrit the self-proclaimed master negotiator now wants to build Dominica’s international airport facility out of a piggy bank,even after 17 years of promises and billions of dollars made in passport revenues. In the 2017/2018 budget presentation, the PM announced that every month $5 Million dollars will be placed in the piggy bank for the funding of the airport construction. That $5 Million is expected to come from the CBI revenues. In reality the government of Dominica will have to sell more than 3000 passports in order to completely fund the construction of the international airport.

After seventeen years of wasted opportunities, the misuse and abuse of the passport revenues, the people of Dominica must now question their government’s priorities and motives. Thousands of passports are given to private entities to build hotels and the government is now proposing that it will build Dominica's most critical transportation facility  from a “cash Pan/ piggy bank" type arrangement. What is even more disturbing is the fact that the Airport Piggy Bank enterprise is being implemented just when the passport glory days are done; passport sales are beginning to dwindle and banks are becoming increasingly leery of dealing with passport selling transactions.

Melville Hall Upgrade Presentation
During the diplomatic passport shame alleviation tour (a mercury advisory), the PM told the Wesley people that an American firm would be presenting a report and analysis on the airport proposal in April of 2017. We are aware that a company name Landrum and Brown provided a preliminary design proposal  for the upgrade of Melville Hall airport and we also know that on August 2nd 2017, the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) out of Antigua presented an advisory report on airport development and the implementation of  International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) compliance regulations. ECCAA is responsible for regulating aviation and security within the OECS. We should also remember that four years ago Skerrit told the people of Dominica that he signed an MOU with a Chinese firm for the design of the international airport. Mr Skerrit and his cabinet must come clean and tell the people whether Dominica will be getting a new International airport or just another upgrade at Meleville Hall .

It is also worth noting that for the first time in 15 years, an international airport is promised outside the euphoric environment of an election campaign. In fact most people were convinced that the new round of airport rhetoric was an indication of an upcoming snap election -a plan that may have emanated from the diplomatic passport embarrassment. Now that the snap election seems like a ruse, the question is- why are we hearing about an international airport with such urgency and desperation when (1) just a few years ago Night Landing was the only vehicle to the promise land and (2) the government is currently spending a few million dollars renovating Melleville Hall/Douglas Charles airport?  

Airport At Melville Hall
Our sources have told us that the reason Roosevelt Skerrit has elevated his antics on the international airport proposal is that one of the hotel developers has been expressing outrage and consternation regarding the government’s failure to honor an agreement to have an international airport to compliment the major hotel operation.

We understand that the hotel developer agreed to venture into the hotel development based on the promise that an international airport would be constructed in the Point Round area of Portsmouth. Needless to say the hotel is in construction and there is no sign of an international airport in Point Round or anywhere else in Dominica.

It can be argued that the hotel developers should have no worries as it is the people’s passport money and other resources that are being used to fund the construction of the hotels however a major hotel development plan goes way beyond just the physical structures. A hotel venture usually requires capital investment by an hospitality operator to build products, services and systems that will enhance guest experience. In the case of Dominica, Air access would be a critical factor for any hotel development plan and so any developer should have concerns about the paltry air access situation in Dominica.

This type of failure is endemic of the Roosevelt Skerrit administration. We may recall that the Chinese had expressed much disappointment after the government had failed to honor their commitment to remedy the Mahuat traffic congestion problems prior to the arrival of the Chinese consortium for the West Coast Road rehabilitation project.

Is the Point Round commitment turning out to be an embarrassment to PM Roosevelt Skerrit or did he just blow smoke up the developer’s rectum? We are not sure but previous aviation and engineering studies had concluded that the Point Round site is unsuitable for the development of an international airport. In fact during the Freedom Party administration the Compton site was selected and during the UWP administration, the professionals recommended the Londonderry estate area as the next suitable site.

So, is PM Skerrit’s antsy international airport plans just an attempt to appease the vexed hotel developer or is it just another one of the conman’s attempt to repair the damages done by his international diplomatic passport racketeering operation?

The Point Round embarrassment may not be the only reason for the international airport chatter.There is no doubt that while PM Roosevelt Skerrit and his cronies have become overnight multimillionaires, his government has failed to provide a viable economic environment for the people-the people were severely impoverished. The Roosevelt Skerrit government is beginning to sense the growing anger of a people fed up with the lies, the ineptness and the reprobation conduct of Roosevelt Skerrit and his cronies and the international airport rhetoric in the absence of an election campaign may be just another attempt to quell the rising storm.

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