Friday, November 15, 2019

Saint Lucia Opposition Leader Says Virgin Atlantic Pullout Not Good News

Saint Lucia’s opposition leader, Philip J. Pierre, has described as ‘unfortunate’ and ‘not good news for Saint Lucia’, the decision by Virgin Atlantic to scrap flights from London Gatwick to this country come June next year.

The United Kingdom is Saint Lucia’s second biggest tourism market.

Pierre, a former Tourism Minister, told MBC Television News that the  Virgin announcement was not good news for Saint Lucia’s tourism industry.

“We have always said that Saint Lucia depends on tourism, but many of the factors that determine what happens in tourism are beyond our control,” he explained.

Pierre said that as a result his Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is concerned about the over half a billion dollar investment in the Hewanorra International Airport redevelopment project.

“It is said that the airport will be paid (for) on landing fees – it will be paid for on airport tax. Now we have  Virgin Atlantic, that’s a major player for the UK market, no longer coming in,” Pierre told MBC News.

“That’s the risk I always spoke about when I advised the government to embark on a PPP arrangement instead of borrowing money. If we were under a PPP, that risk would not be ours,” he asserted.

He explained that the risk would be on the partners in the PPP.

“I am saying to the government – it is not too late to come out of that arrangement. It is not too late for the benefit of the  young people of Saint Lucia,” the Castries East MP stated.

Pierre declared that the announcement of the Virgin Atlantic pullout confirms and solidifies the position of the SLP that the best way to have built the airport would have been through a PPP.

Virgin has blamed the decision to cease its flights here on a variety of economic factors.

But Saint Lucia has indicated that the pullout was linked to a stalemate over subsidies.

Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee in a statement last week said Virgin indicated to local tourism officials that in order to continue operating its existing five flights weekly in the winter months, and three in the off season summer months, it would require EC$20 million or USD7.5 million over three years.

“Two other options were presented to us which would mean a significant reduction in Virgin Atlantic flights to our shores and did not present the best return on a potential investment,” Fedee explained.

“It is our strong belief that agreeing to Virgin Atlantic’s demands for a multimillion dollar subsidy, would have opened the door for other airlines to also ask for subsidy,” the minister stated.

7 COMMENTS

  1. It’s imperative that the Caribbean invest in it’s own airlines after all everything has a price .

  2. Primer minister Pierre you are the only good voice of reasoning as far as I am concern to PPP.with upgrade was best option for the airport Jamaica has done so with great success Barbados announced they will be doing the a few other.small countries have done this to elevate the stress of its tax payers. Running the airport is one of the government biggest expense but for these Jackasses they love so and want to get their teefing hands on. Our people are so blatantly ignorant to everything they refuse to even examine this possibility and hold their leaders hands to fire after its our financial enslavement they are setting us up for all when they have left office for decades.

    • Since when running the is government biggest expense? Get you facts straight. Until you guys, including the opposition, can tell the nation what is the agreement between Barbados and Jamaica with their respective PPP you need to refrain from talking about it. You want to put a business into a foreign Private company hand and St Lucia, beside paying million of dollars to bring in passengers/flight to this airport (through promotions), have to pay the lone for that airport? that can never happen in Barbados and Jamaica. In Barbados you put the money in the business and you run it. British Airways and Virgin did it before.

      • You bitching about leasing the airport but yet we gave away lprime lands for 99yrs for next to nothing. With no guarantee no profit sharing you. Big UWP jokers Sunday afternoon. Under my juice can’t bother take yull on Comrades when a country takes on loans and project’s that exceeds its GDP and GNP there not a problem ??? Try running your household like this then wheel and take again tell me how you living

  3. When uall want to text s*** make sure ur writing is ok. Read a few times bfor posting. Cuz i am having a hard time reading ur garbage lucian high grade

  4. Pierre, you Fedee and the rest of the jokers, will only tell us what you think we want to hear; and not the true story, so deal with it!

  5. This may be a twisted story. A huge company like Virgin wouldn’t worry about little st lucia. What I believe actually happened was that Saint Lucia wanted to charge Virgin Atlantic more in taxes and fees to facilitate the construction of their new airport. Virgin did not agree to this and so they decided to leave, losing nothing.

Comments are closed.

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