The two highest ranked persons in the National Democratic Party government have indicated a willingness to accommodate further discussions on the controversial project to extend the runway at Terrence B Lettsome International Airport.
The two – Premier Dr D Orlando Smith and his deputy Dr Kedrick Pickering – are said to be the main pushers of the controversial runway extension plan.
So far, five of their fellow government lawmakers have made it clear publicly that they do not support the project at this time, adding that they do not believe the government can afford the project.
The difference of opinion among Government legislators has led some persons to speculate that there is a rift in the National Democratic Party government.
Dr Pickering, during his contribution to the budget debate yesterday, did not mention the proposed plans to extend the airport runway.
But he made it clear that there is no need for people to fight because they have different opinions.
“If we do some serious soul-searching within ourselves, there is nothing wrong with differences. There is nothing wrong with debating differences. We don’t have to agree to get along. We have to agree to not be disagreeable irrespective of our various opinions, etectera. There’s a way to find common ground to advance the country.”
“As the former premier used to say, we don’t have to fight; let’s talk. And when we have a good point, let’s see how we can enhance it. A good idea is a good idea; it doesn’t matter where it comes from,” Dr Pickering further told his colleagues in the House.
‘We need to expand the airport’
In the meantime, Premier Smith, while wrapping up the budget debate last evening, emphasized the importance of pursuing the airport project.
“We need to expand the airport. I know we have been having a very robust discussion about the need to expand the airport. I am also of the view that we need to expand the airport because that’s expansion to our economy,” he said.
Premier Smith continued: “Airlift is important and the government will continue to work towards airlift. I know that it is important that we have discussions on the various issues that have been raised by my colleagues; the various issues being raised by members of the public. Once we all work together on all these matters, I think we all understand and appreciate where we need to go as far as airlift is concerned.”
Up to the end of the budget debate shortly before 9pm yesterday, there was no clear indication whether or not Government will now press ahead with the runway extension project.
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