Before the cock crows three times
Skerrit to announce plans for building an international airport
One of the most controversial topics of the current general election campaign- the construction of an international airport- took centre stage Sunday when the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) launched Fidel Grant as its candidate for Wesley.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced there that that his government will be making the decision to build the airport before the end of 2019.
"I am saying to you in the Wesley constituency and Dominica we shall take that decision in this the year of the Lord, the firm decision shall be taken on the construction of the international airport in Dominica," said Prime Minister Skerrit. "And earth works shall commence before the proverbial cock crows three times."
The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has made the construction of an international airport a major programmes of its manifesto in 2019. And when the party was in power, from 1995 to 2000, the UWP administration purchased land in the Londonderry area near Wesley for the construction of an international airport.
For its part, the DLP has had the construction of the airport on its manifesto for the last three election cycles. But Prime Minister Skerrit said Sunday that his government's plans are far advanced and that he has travelled to "the four corners of this earth" negotiating for the construction of the international airport.
"We have several irons in the fire," said Skerrit. "We are negotiating for the best. We are speaking with proposed developers from every continent. We have various designs before us and we are very close to making a final decision."
Skerrit said he is expecting the review proposals from China, India, Dubai and two multi-lateral organisations.
He told residents of Wesley that his government has the money available for the purchase of their lands and that process will be begin as soon as the designs are finalized.
In addition to the international airport, the Skerrit administration intends to break ground "before the proverbial cock crows" for the construction of a cruise and cargo berth later this year, Skerrit said.
Delivering his launch speech, Fidel Grant, an accountant and former employee of the National Development Foundation (NDFD) said he thoroughly understands the plight of the Wesley people.
"I am the son of a farmer and a single mother," said Grant. "I know what it is to be poor".
Grant said he will introduce programmes to improve agriculture, sports, tourism and small business. "I will help you one by one, business by business," Grant said. "We are going to move from potential to actual."
During the rally Gregory "Karessah" Riviere, one of Dominica's top calypsonians, said he "officially solemnly declare that I have accepted the call to be the Dominica Labour Party candidate for the Marigot constituency".
"So help me, Dominicans help me," he said.
Wesley is one of six constituencies held by the UWP during the 2014 general election; that banana belt forms a twin stronghold for the opposition. Marigot, where Riviere is to contest, is the other.