I remain an avid member of the diaspora and continue to monitor my St Lucia. I am a firm believer in respecting the voice of the electorate after successive general elections. This time around, however, I am particularly concerned about the ability of our current Prime Minister regarding his decisions to shut down a number of projects which appeared relatively sound.
My deep concern today is the delay of the HIA Terminal -a project twenty years overdue. I recently learned from a most reliable source that the PM’s wish is to downsize the project. The two areas he has focused upon are the second storey and the preclearance department for US departures. But the importance of the second storey is to permit the functioning of Jet Ports, that is to say, passengers will arrive on the ground floor and depart on the second floor. This system is used by all modern terminals. The preclearance area allows St Lucians and visitors alike who travel to the US to clear Customs and Immigration right here in St Lucia thereby avoiding the hassle of taking long lines on their arrival in the US. Many St Lucians and US visitors who disembark at Miami for instance can attest to the lengthy period to go through Customs and Immigration at that end. International terminals are probably constructed once in every forty years, consequently, it makes good sense for St Lucia to get the project right.
A group of levelheaded St Lucians need to get together and ensure that the current PM is not allowed to deny the nation of what they are rightfully entitled to. Completing this masterpiece will catapult this nation forward into what is a very competitive world. Antigua with half the population of St Lucia completed a terminal at the same price as ours some five years ago. St Vincent with barely twenty percent of our tourism figures created a runway and a five-star terminal some three years ago at a cost of almost one billion EC dollars. Dominica with some ten percent of our tourism numbers is now embarking on an international airport and terminal for EC one billion dollars.
Engineers who continue making a mockery of our development, are now questioning the design of the HIA Terminal for economic reasons. One has to ask what qualifications engineers training only in the discipline of engineering possess to question the economic direction of the nation. Prime Minister Pierre, please remember the moral of the story of the Emperor’s new clothes. Please be careful who you listen to.
By Jason Hinkson