Construction work on the Argyle International Airport Terminal Building has begun.
Work on the terminal building got going on Wednesday August 10th, 2011 two days earlier than expected. The actual start of construction followed the symbolic turning of the sod which took place on Sunday August 7th, 2011.
Hundreds of Vincentians journeyed to Argyle to witness the ground breaking. It was an occasion that heard addresses from Chairman and CEO of the IADC, Dr. Rudy Matthias who expressed satisfaction in seeing those who once doubted the project become converted and have been made believers. “When we set off on this journey in August 2005, there were many who did not believe.
Today I see, as we get closer and closer to the finish line, we are being joined by those who were unbelievers and “faint of heart”. But it is better late than never. I am happy that now they believe! As a small nation, we can hardly accomplish anything meaningful if we are consumed by self-doubt, and lack self-confidence. To achieve anything meaningful, we have to be brave, bold and confident!”
Dr. Matthias also outlined the makeup of the terminal building.
3 floors - total floor area: 171,100 sq ft (E.T. Joshua – 30,000 sq ft)
Peak passenger hour: 800 persons, - 400 in and 400 out!
Accommodate 1.5 million passengers per year. (This is more than 7 times the number of passengers currently passing through E. T. Joshua Airport in any one year.)
Departure lounge and concessions area (21,000 sq ft)
Roof top restaurant and waving gallery area (13,000 sq ft)
Conference centre facility, with roof top garden area 11,000 sq ft
Several car parks: Commercial car park (250 cars), 10 large buses, and ample space for taxis and rental cars.
We are building a truly first class facility that caters for future growth and development!
Chairman of Caricom, Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts/Nevis also addressed the gathering. In his very brief remarks, Dr. Douglas noted that the terminal building was being commenced during a week when the global economic crisis especially impacted the United States, which saw its credit ratings downgraded from a perfect AAA to AA+ for the first time. Douglas added that the effects would be felt within CARICOM, including its sub-regional grouping, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, where St. Kitts and Nevis and SVG are part of an economic and political union.
Ambassador Weber Shih of Taiwan also addressed Sunday’s ground breaking. Ambassador Shih noted the similarities of Taiwan and SVG. He Highlighted the benefits that this international airport will bring to the country whilst stressing the need for it in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The feature address was delivered by Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves. During his address Dr. Gonsalves among other things updated Vincentians on the amount of money paid out so far to property owners at Argyle and the amount which remains to be paid out. According to the Prime Minister, 22 million dollars have already been paid out for 131 parcels of vacant land, and there is another 25 million dollars still to be paid out for 174 additional parcels of vacant land. Dr. Gonsalves assured those gathered that negotiations are ongoing and noted that they will get through by the grace of God. He urged Vincentians to have faith, stressing that our faith in God and the grace of God will see us through.
Taiwan is financing the US$26.5 million dollar terminal building, which is being constructed by Taiwanese firm OECC.
CECI Engineering Consultants Inc., another Taiwanese firm, was awarded the US$3.9 million contract for the design and supervision of construction of the landside facilities which include the passenger and cargo terminal buildings.