By Caribbean News Global contributor
ROSEAU, Dominica – The government of Dominica is advancing plans previous announced last October to establish an airport development company, the acquisition of around 411 acres, finalising designs and technical studies for the construction of the international airport, prime minister Roosevelt Skeritt advised. “The International Airport Development Company will have a shelf life for the duration of the construction of the airport.”
“The government will delegate the construction of the airport to that company to give focus to the construction of the airport. That company will also have a board of directors and we have a wide cross-section of the Dominican society represented on this board. On this board, we will have about sixteen members. We are talking about representatives from the private sector, from utility companies. We are talking about public officers, we are talking about local airline representatives. We are talking about DASPA, the DHTA, DAIC, and other groups within the society,” prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit said.
A chief executive officer for the project will also be appointed to ensure the process is being facilitated smoothly. “We will also be appointing a chief executive officer, and of course, in that company, we will have engineers, we will have an accountant, a financial controller, and other staff that will be required,” prime minister Skerrit added. “We will have on-site a soil lab, and the idea is to recruit 10 or 15 young Dominicans who can work in this lab and understudy what is happening to gain experience; so that we can get more trained people who can now run our national lab,” he said.
Last year, prime minister Skerrit announced that there were multiple proposals and firms from China, India, Dubai, including two multilateral agencies and independent developers in Europe and the Americas, ready to construct the international airport, and a decision was expected [this year] 2020. […] “The international airport will be located in the Wesley constituency, a product that we can be proud of and an airport that we can afford to maintain in pristine condition, and which would benefit frequent regular international airline use.”
Delivering the national budget of Dominica 2020-2021 prime minister Skerrit said: “We have completed the necessary property surveys, and Cabinet has approved for the acquisition of 213 properties required for the airport construction, of which 47 are farms. The total market value of these properties is estimated at $50.7 million. Negotiations have been completed with 25 property owners. The government will begin to make payments to the property owners and farmers in August 2020. Geotechnical surveys will be undertaken by September 2020,” prime minister Skerrit explained. Meantime, offering appreciation to the commitment of the People’s Republic of China towards the construction of this important transformational project for Dominica, said: “We are grateful for their solidarity and support.”
Introduced in 1993, Dominica’s CBI programme is considered the industry’s best, by the annual CBI Index. Successful applicants gain access to visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry to approximately 140 destinations. Participants can benefit from Investment programmes in areas of national development, inclusive of the island’s geothermal potential, its eco-tourism sector and construction on its first international airport.
The government has been saving US$5 million every month over the past few years from the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme specifically for the construction of the new airport.