The Grenada Revolution Online

WHY AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT By [name not included]

31 July 1970, FORUM, Vol 1, No. 9, from page 3 and page 9.

NOTE: The text of the document below has been taken from a copy of an original with minor typographical and formatting corrections.

For the past years, and even at present, there has been much talk in official quarters and otherwise in laying down an International Airport in Grenada. Nevertheless, there seems to be some further form of contemplation in pursuing this gigantic step in Grenada's development while EXPO '69 is bolstered as a "tremendous success" and "highly successful tripe" continues to be made abroad.

Sometime during 1966 a Tripartite Conference was held in Canada at which representation was made at International level, including the Commonwealth Caribbean and what is now known as the W.I. Associates States. Among the important topics discussed at this conference in the phase of development was an International Airport for Grenada. Findings on the Report were made to examine the possibilities in constructing such modern improved air communication.

Last year, t00, an overseas British Commonwealth Survey team visited Grenada to examine this project. In conjunction with local personnel, the team carried not its survey, but what its findings are is still a 'hush-hush', which is the order of the day.

But have we ever stopped for a moment to think what a tremendous cost it will impose on the already burdened taxpayers of Grenada? And would it be of any benefit to us in constructing and operating an International Airport here? What are its advantages and disadvantages on the economy of the Island? But no: Who cares? When all is said and done, we will be told that it was an investment without any financial return (gain) for Grenada. I am no Economist, but no sane and sincere professional, on wide International level with a conscience will foster an International Airport for Grenada. The lands earmarked for this major project can well be utilised to serve and build Grenadan's growing socio-economic plight in a better and more fruitful field.

The area set out, according to reliable informed sources, is at Point Salines the southernmost tip of Grenada. At Point Salines, there still exist the possibility of developing a local salt industry (fine or Coarse). Here lies too, the only light house, a life-saver to mariners. It was here on April 1, 1904, that for the first time light was turned on. The area comprises approximately 200 acres. In acquiring, with the rightful cost of lands in this area, Grenada will first have to look for at least ten million dollars. And that is only for acquiring. How about excavation, construction etc. to put into operation. It may well require another fifteen million dollars. Money is not all, we know. It will augur well for us to get the concept of 'a dream' to build an international airport in Grenada and convert the area into a controlled building site, start planning and put into effect a Dairy Farm and Animal Husbandry Industry in the Point Salines-True Blue areas. It must be remembered that the sea around abound in fresh fish that can be marketed.

Gone are the days when the late John A. Branch and his contemporaries, with the absence of such available modern skill and knowledge, utilized a portion of this area where numerous flocks of sheep and goats were reared, and some of the best cattle, cows and pigs were produced for local consumption. It was the breeding and rearing ground for our best local race horses. The same lands, with improved and better modern technical and professional training are amongst us. It is not too late to commence a re-construction, and begin working the plan in order to supplement our Agricultural economy. This alternative scheme should replace the concept of an International Airport. In doing so, while a modern Housing settlement is welcomed, this too, should be well planned, phased and controlled, and not pursued as the mad-rush 'get-rich' quick policy that is now being adopted in the Grand Anse, Morne Rouge, True Blue, and adjacent areas to the detriment of building Grenada's economy. Just one more modern Hotel, with limited guests and dwelling houses should be included in re-planning the True Blue, Point Salines and adjacent areas.

The North American and European tourists when visiting these parts do not wish to be confronted with other Miami, New York or Barcelona on our pleasant and attractive beaches. Trinidad and Tobago's Piarco is approximately the same distance away from Port of Spain as that of Pearls to St. Georges. The Piarco and Seawell umbrella is enough service and shelter, internationally, for Grenada.

Our own Pearls Airport about five years ago underwent extensive repairs and lengthening to its runway to accommodate larger flights, and still there is more room for further extension.

Apart from the collossal burden, in this day and age, it is folly to think in terms of an International Airport for Grenada. Now is the time to match sincere Brain and Economic POWER to putting the needs and benefits of the state before self.

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