Dominica: The government of Dominica is still working to fulfil its promise to build an international airport. Officials of the government announced that an agreement with MMCE would be signed on June 9 for the construction of the new international airport.
The town of Wesley was chosen as the site and resettlement of the area began. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has stated that this is a long-awaited project that spans three decades and numerous governments.
“The international airport project has been at the forefront of development talks for more than three decades and even more. Successive governments have done all the necessary studies, identified appropriate sites, and purchased land and property to prepare for construction. Since our independence in 1979, every ruling government has declared its intention to build an international airport in Dominica. But this Labor government is going to make it a reality. Your Dominica Labor Party Government is ready to set up the international airport,” the prime minister remarked.
He then mentions a number of achievements already achieved for the development of Dominica’s largest infrastructure project.
“Over the past year, we have settled on the premises in Wesley and acquired the property through careful negotiations with land and property owners in the area. We have also established an International Airport Development Company (IADC) with a fully appointed board of directors. “We will officially sign an agreement with Montreal Management Consultants Establishment to begin construction of our international airport,” said Prime Minister Skerrit.
The prime minister also announced a date for the signing agreement between MMCE and the government. The agreement, which will be signed on 9 June 2021, will mark the start of construction work at the airport.
He noted that once the agreement is signed, the government will start negotiating with various airlines. Read More.
“Even before the airport is completed, we will engage an international firm that will help the Ministry of Tourism market the country and promote the airport, so that we can start signing agreements and signing obligations of airlines and say that ‘yes once your airport is complete we will land in Dominica. So we are not going to wait to build and then talk to airlines. We will talk to airlines almost immediately while we sign the agreement,” the PM said.
“As Prime Minister, I must assure you that I am committed to doing this project, because I am convinced that an international airport will offer so many new opportunities for our country. Various sectors, including tourism and agriculture, will be significantly improved and a number of new jobs will be created for citizens in various fields of expertise and skills,” said Prime Minister Skerrit.
Samuel Johnson, CEO of the International Airport Development Company (IADC), said the IADC is committed to setting up an organization that can truly live up to the mandate and expectations of the government, such as liaising with the main stakeholders, the developer and the government to ensure that the signed agreements are fully implemented and that the technical specifications set out are in accordance with those agreements.
He explained that the construction of this international airport could offer numerous benefits to the island in the short and long term.
“One of the things I saw on the ground is some benefits that are happening in the short term. As far as the acquisition process is concerned, there is a significant capital injection in the site. And even in the construction of the new housing that is underway, there is an immediate boom of the construction sector that we are seeing. In the medium term, there will also be many emergency services in the area during the construction of the airport to support the workers. But long-term really. In addition to tourism, there are also significant benefits from a business perspective. “There are significant business opportunities in terms of new restaurants, new services and entertainment that are all influenced by the ease of tourists and visitors to get to the island,” Johnson said.
Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Missi Henderson, noted that the government has so far acquired approximately 267 properties from various property owners. That’s an average of about 505 acres of land now located in the state.
About 86 percent of the negotiations have already been completed, with the aim of completing the rest of the negotiations by the end of December.
“We had about 71 buildings on the airport premises. During the negotiations, we offered them different options, and they had to choose the option that was best suited for them. So one of the options offered to them was the option to exchange and allow the government to build for them. We are currently building thirty homes at Jo Burton, a combination of two bedrooms, three bedrooms and four bedrooms. Some of them chose the option to do a duplex, and what was special about the initiative was that we allowed the homeowners to see the designs before, and that they could see the designs and even adjust them if they wanted to. The architectural designs were done by local contractors and the construction is done by local contractors. And between September and December we have to see that someone has access to their homes,” Henderson explains.
Meanwhile, Dr Colin McIntyre, project coordinator, said MMCE is the best option, based on the fact that there is a partnership between MMCE and the Dominican government.
“We have one option and the only option that will not place any burdens on Dominica is the CBI option. This is why we decided to Dr Haiden and MMCE to enter into conversation. We are confident that, based on the MMCE record, in terms of what they did in Bellevue Chopin and the housing structures across the country, and apartment complexes and those that are currently going on, and our health centers, and everything else. MMCE therefore has a proven track record and the government believes that MMCE is the best option,” said Dr McIntyre.