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Airport Expansion Project grounded? Gov’t ‘considering next steps’

Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour, Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), right, refused to give details in the House of Assembly on June 13, 2017 as to why the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport expansion project is not moving forward. Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Member Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3), left, wants to know why the Airport Expansion Project is not going forward. The National Democratic Party (NDP) Government also missed their deadline in signing a contract for the works to begin, after a preferred bidder, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) was selected in December 2016. Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Member Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3), left, wants to know why the Airport Expansion Project is not going forward. The National Democratic Party (NDP) Government also missed their deadline in signing a contract for the works to begin, after a preferred bidder, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) was selected in December 2016. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – During the Eighth Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly (HoA) on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering refused to give details as to why the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport expansion project is not moving forward.

For months now, the National Democratic Party (NDP) government has been silent about what is taking place with the expansion project and they have also missed their deadline in signing a contract for the works to begin, after a preferred bidder, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) was selected in December 2016.

“A preferred bidder for the airport project was selected at the end of 2016. Some discussions have taken place, including with potential financiers and regulatory authorities. The government is now considering its next steps,” stated Hon Pickering.

What’s there to consider?

However, Opposition Member, Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3), posing his questions to Dr Pickering, wanted solid answers in this matter.

According to Honourable Fraser, “Now he is telling me that the government is considering its options? What’s there to consider? Isn’t it obvious?”

The former Leader of the Opposition commented that the government should not be considering their next step based on the fact that a preferred bidder was selected and studies have been conducted, among other things.

Stating that the government is “considering its next steps,” Hon Fraser firmly asked, “Are you going ahead or are you not going ahead?”

In response, the Natural Resources Minister emphasised that the government is considering its next step.

Members of the National Democratic Party (NDP) government had previously expressed their disapproval of the airport expansion project going forward at this time.

Airport project vital to building economy

Dr Pickering strongly believes that the expansion of the airport will play a vital role in building the VI economy.

“An important objective of any government is to support the development of the economy to the benefit of all its citizens. It is widely recognised that improved air access is one route to supporting the economic development of the Territory.”

In addition, he described that the extension of the runway will be about 7,100 feet and this will in turn accommodate larger airline fleet to fly directly to the Beef Island runway.

“At present, established US airlines all cite the inability to operate from the BVI due to the runway length,” said Honourable Pickering.

17 Responses to “Airport Expansion Project grounded? Gov’t ‘considering next steps’”

  • wize up (14/06/2017, 08:32) Like (3) Dislike (11) Reply
    and some of think our government not hearing the cries of the people: listen to me; just before the next election that project coming back and it will we headed by the carbe famiily in partnersip with the Chinese folks -talk that (it's called political strategy) NDP going rite back in power
    • voiceofthevoiceless (14/06/2017, 11:00) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      @wizeup

      So how is that hearing the cries of our people if all the time the strategy was to delay it until 2018? Based on your thought process it sounds deceitful to me as the stance made by some of the legislators in the house was just theatrics and part of a strategy to make the people feell that they are hearing their cries when all along the plan was just to delay until election year. The power of incumbency is strong but let me tell you something the will of the people is stronger. NDP bought the last election and I am sure they are of the belief they can do the same for the next after all they have the power of the purse and the power to make major decisions. What did that power bring us last election: TPP overruns by 30 million, 1 .2 million dollar wall, broken promises of a policy of transparency, rushed and poorly done road works etc.

      You can fool some people all the time, but you cannot foll all the people all the time.
      • wize up (14/06/2017, 11:45) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
        @ voice of voiceless: put aside of the old
        Talk: do not think the people
        Of this territory needs a better air port(it is not a political question)....you keep the faith and keep your chin up
  • Spy (14/06/2017, 08:42) Like (3) Dislike (13) Reply

    Dr. Pickering weak he allowed M**on and others to kill his airport project for their own selfish reasons. We need the airlift, but thank god this government is on their last term

  • simple (14/06/2017, 09:40) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    I'm the boss. I'm in charge. I do what I want. I owe no one any explanation. Stop asking me to explain.. I will not. Bull Shxxiit..The Airport expansion and Brandy wine bay beach must happen as long as I'm in charged.. Stop talking, or talk as much as you want.. cause I'm not hearing...
  • dog (14/06/2017, 11:12) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Pickering is back from talking environment and climate change, yet he doesn't consider what an extended runway will do to that. The push for the runway is part of the agreement with Oil Nut Bay and other resort developers. The noise of descending planes over the island beginning over west end and finally in east end is loud and jarring. It is noise pollution. get the current airline contracts up and running first to see what kind of traffic is warranted. So far, airlines are inefficient, unsustainable, unreliable. The new planes we are invested in are currently flying in Haiti and Cuba. Who is making that money? Bigger planes don't necessarily mean more visitors. Where is the attention to fixing the ferries coming west end and RT from St Thomas? There are more visitors coming that way than flights. The airport money can be used for more pressing matters for the greater good and not just benefit for the few.
  • SMH (14/06/2017, 12:38) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    it is because we are broke, this government spent all our money
  • ccc (14/06/2017, 12:41) Like (3) Dislike (8) Reply
    I for the run way extension but it must be done by locals
    • BVI pride (14/06/2017, 23:06) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      If there is any good to come from this, perhaps it will be to open the eyes of lawmakers to this practical truth. LISTEN TO WE THE PEOPLE
  • tola (14/06/2017, 21:56) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    We don't need that run way rite now we got way more important stuff to deal with invest in our health services an education an electricity an the list goes on all the visitors coming true st Thomas if I was the government I would've invest in these boat to help bringing these people's
  • janet (14/06/2017, 23:02) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I hope a silver lining to this airport runway mess is that it brings sobriety to the politicians at a time when reasoned discourse, on behalf of the BVI people, has often devolved into self-serving power battles.
  • wize up (15/06/2017, 06:41) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    when all the dust settles that airport will come to past
    • John (18/06/2017, 01:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      At what cost wize up? They will not be able to pay for it. If it is anything like TPP it will end up costing over $400M. TPP, you may know, is now past $90M with no end in sight. All this just to please some failed American who couldn't make it in his own country, but who found some incompetents who see him as a God and now must jump to his every beck and call. The BVI should be doing their own investments on their own schedule, but we need real management for that.
  • The Prophet (15/06/2017, 11:06) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I told you so from the beginning., this Airport project cannot be justified but no, Mr. ZZZ and this Cuban have made promises to their rich friends with their selfish motivates. This would have been the most expensive blunder in the history of this country. What is interesting is the fact that not one of those who were forcing the Government's hand showed any interest in investing a penny in the project. Unfortunately, this decision to halt the project comes after ten million was wasted.


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