The New Today


MBIA upgrade with loan from China

The Maurice Bishop International Airport benefited from various random improvements over the last years. These upgrades seem to have been achieved with absorbable financial impact. Further progress is conceivable again with manageable investments, e.g. for improvement of the archaic method of luggage checks for outgoing flights.

Another decisive aspect is management performance. A failure like the recent one with flights being forced to be canceled because basic inventory control is faulty, is simply unacceptable. A jog trot like this leads to demotion or dismissal in other countries.

The government, instead of making digestible steps, wants to implement a major improvement of the airport. The rational is to attract more international flights. Is there really a context? A tourist location is attractive because of the experience one has while being there, not because you pass through a generous airport.

There are hundreds or even thousands of popular tourist locations with modest but safe and reliable airports.

I have not seen a business case and I doubt there is a proper one. It rather looks to me like a commitment given to a developer like the one years ago to Peter de Savary (We will change our laws to the needs of the project).

The timing for the kick off and the projected cost could not be worse. It needs a lot of wishful thinking to belief a $150M credit can be serviced and repaid as necessary.

I regard it as irresponsible to start the project and pass the point of no return. Given the financial status of the government, one must assume that the airport will be owned and controlled by the lender within a few years from now.

A responsible government with good governance would do an emergency stop and renegotiate a much smaller project. Other countries like Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and just recently Thailand did it with success. Or is it Nawasa, Grenlec, Airport and the rest of the country owned by China over the years. Is this the government’s strategic plan for 2030?

Curious Onlooker

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