THE reconstruction of the Hewanorra International Airport was first mooted by the UWP administration in 2009 and this project was not supported by the Kenny Anthony administration for several frivolous reasons. False accusations haunted the project but, more importantly, the visitor tax implemented by the UWP was also approved and implemented by IATA and the system moved into top gear and within two years some fifty million dollars was in the lock box for the purpose of reconstruction.
The SLP administration, with a misguided approach, removed the approved head tax and allowed the airlines to enjoy a windfall profit of $250 million over four years. The ambiguous information fed to the ordinary man in St. Lucia that the UWP administration opted the path of borrowing $400 million for the Hewanorra International Airport reconstruction versus the path of a free airport is not only malicious but degrading to the intelligence of St. Lucians. Who in the world will give St. Lucia an airport for free?
The intention of farming out Hewanorra International Airport over thirty years has its challenges and deficiencies and St. Lucians only have to visit the Bahamian website and gather their own information. Public/private partnership (PPP) has its advantages, but St. Lucians can be rest assured that the investors will be the number one beneficiaries for thirty years in all respects and the qualified St. Lucians who managed the facility under trying conditions for the past years should not be deprived of managing the new facility.
St. Lucians continue sharing their concerns about hotels being foreign-owned and foreigners getting top jobs, so why sacrifice the opportunity of making Hewanorra International Airport an indigenous operation? The facility will be paid for by visitors and the profit and top positions will remain in the domain of St. Lucians and the SLP should simply sit back and learn a couple tips about investing wisely.