A new site has been selected on the sister isle of Carriacou for the construction of a brand new airport, according to Minister for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, Elvin Nimrod.
Speaking to reporters at a recent post-Cabinet Press Briefing, Minister Nimrod who also holds the post of Deputy Prime Minister said that a Grenada delegation, which was on a recent trip to Mainland China, approached the Exim bank of China for funding for the project.
“I just returned from China with other members of a delegation and one of the reasons for going (was) to meet with the Exim bank to discuss the application that was made for a loan by government to do some massive infrastructural work which includes upgrade to the Maurice Bishop International Airport and the Carriacou Lauriston Airport,” he said.
According to the Number Two man in the 19-month old ruling New National Party (NNP) administration, the Lauriston Airport has outlived its usefulness and is not in any condition to bring further benefits to Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
He took a shot at the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Tillman Thomas, which had allegedly budgeted a mere EC$90,000 to do work on the small airstrip on the sister isle.
Minister Nimrod said this was definitely not enough to build an airport on Carriacou.
“The money that was budgeted under the previous government – that couldn’t even hire a Bobcat for a week and of course that was ridiculous …”, he said.
“…When I raised the issue (of the budgetary allocation) at the time of the budget debate, he (Minister of Finance, Nazim Burke) didn’t know where I get my figures from and he was sure that the money that was allocated would do the work”, he added.
The senior government minister announced that it would take at least forty million dollars “if you want to do a proper airport that would serve the interest of the people and the region”.
Nimrod stressed that the issue of transportation is critical for “proper economic development” to take place in any country.
He indicated that experts have already done more than two visits to Carriacou to do the topographical studies with respect to the new airport project.
“…What they have determined is that that airport cannot accommodate any modern aircraft so to speak and so recommendations were made to identify another site and the Dumfries area was identified as the new site and all the experts say that it is a very ideal and adequate place to have the airport,” he said.
Minister Nimrod did not give a definite time for the start of construction of the airport but said it is definitely in the making.
During the campaign in which it won the February 2013 general elections, the NNP in its manifesto promised to undertake six major development projects in the country within the first 12 months of taking office.