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Airport expansion will continue despite NDP leader change — Premier

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

It is not globally uncommon for an initiative spearheaded by one government leader to be shelved when another leader succeeds him/her.

But, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said he is confident that will not be the case for his highly-touted Airport Expansion Project when the next National Democratic Party (NDP) leader takes office.

It is expected the project will not be under Premier Smith’s leadership through to its completion since Dr Smith plans to step aside as NDP leader. He will demit office within a year.

The Smith-led airport project involves recruiting investors to develop the TB Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island. In exchange, those investors will operate the airport for roughly 20 years before returning control to the BVI government.

Dr Smith said once the NDP is elected as the governing party for a third consecutive term, that strategy will continue as planned.

“Oh yes,” said Premier Smith while responding to questions on whether he thinks his successor will continue on his prized airport project.

“I think there is a general acceptance by the government, in fact, by the people of this country that there needs to be an expansion of the airport.”

He further said, “there will be no impact on the timeline” of the project despite a change of leadership in the NDP.

Journalists put questions to the Premier about the continuity of the airport project given the opposition he had received for the project – even within his government – in early 2017.

Lawmakers from both the government and parliamentary opposition agreed the airport expansion was necessary. But, some have questioned whether the BVI is able to afford the project, at the time. Even months before any inkling of hurricanes Irma and Maria, these lawmakers said they believed more pressing issues should take priority.

In the meantime, Premier Smith – who recently returned from a business tour of Asia – said he met with at least one person who is willing to invest in the airport.

He said discussions are in the primitive stages and, therefore, declined to disclose any additional information on the matter.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

18 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Lets hope the “No Direction Party” don’t continue blindly with this white elephant its not needed or wanted apart from those that stand to make plenty from the side deals done….as your recent Mr Frett article stated – “Be not fooled – our being broke is not by accident but by neglect, greed and corruption where local BV-Islanders are being neglected by those in seats of power who appear so consumed by greed that too much is still not enough and corruption is allowed to spread like stage four-cancer with no apparent cure in sight – BVIslanders are forced beyond hurting to an existence of hopelessness.”

    but lest forget about restoring our island and its infrastructure lets just plan a multi million dollar airport expansion!

  2. smh says:

    wa do this dude….. panna nobody in the BVI other than you team wants a airport expansion…. for y’all to add another tax to pay for it

  3. Political Observer (PO) says:

    “He said discussions are in the primitive stages and, therefore, declined to disclose any additional information on the matter.” Discussions are in the “primitive” stages; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

    Though Doc may want to see this legacy project continue, political aspirants from government, opposition and independents should weigh in with their position on extending TBLIA and upgrading the terminal. Specifically, where is this project on their capital projects priority list? What is the opportunity cost of this project? Where is this project on the National Development Plan(NDP) depth chart? Ok, there is no NDP; well, one was needed in 1978; it is needed now. An NDP must be on the next government’s bucket list. If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there. A pilot never leaves the runway without a flight plan.

  4. well, well well says:

    NDP lunacy at its’ finest! The freakin country in shambles and they still talking airport. Just look at the place……..fix the much needed infrastructure before anything. Prop up tourism so people can have a job. Does the leaders actually go outside their offices and see what is around them. They should be embarrassed to even mention airport at this point.

    • @well, well says:

      Somehow, there is a shadow Premier somewhere. Apart from talk they are not actually in control. The question is who is in control?

    • Where's the Vision? says:

      Or shouldn’t even be thinking about seeking re-election. after crippling our country’s finances.
      What do they want? more time to sneak back in some of the missing millions?.

      They should be all stepping down (or aside)

    • CW says:

      If you don’t see how increased tourism from a bigger airport fixes your shambles, I can’t help you. Negative to the point of indecision. please, tell is YOUR solution.

  5. Not so fast doc says:

    Before we commit to a $300 million big spend, let’s consider some alternatives and our priorities. Our priorities should be focused on rebuilding before we divert resources to a project that won’t help our children’s schools, our roads, our slow and expensive internet, our inability to handle our trash, our unreliable and our grossly expensive power grid. Our minister’s have proven time over time that they are incapable of maganing projects of this sort. Right? Consider Orlando’s hospital that came in over budget and sat empty for nearly a decade because it wasn’t constructed properly. Consider the pier project that came in $50,000,000 worth of yet to explained cost over runs. Consider Air Orlando which cost us 8 million big ones!

  6. Fei Long says:

    We Chinese, we no trick – we build your airport with our funds and labour Force. We soon bring big big shipping port facilities here too!! We ❤️ NDP and let’s do this thing! Plenty of your ministers already in our bag. We got you. Togetherness we bring plenty Chinese food – you like RUFF…?

  7. Pet says:

    We do not need the type of airport this government is proposing. Where are the airlines we intend to accomodate? That money will disappear and there will be no service. This government cannot handle money. There is no accountability. Who is going to build the airport, the Chinese? Forget it Mr. Primier. We have already lost seven million to an airplane that disappeared. We cannot trust your decisions. Cool out.

  8. Rubber Duck says:

    It might as long as the catering contracts are awarded to the right people. Nudge nudge, wink, wink.

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