Nation e-Edition

Barbados needs a small airport

By Ashley L. McClean

| Thu, February 07, 2013 - 12:00 AM

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Serious consideration should be given to the building of a small airport or airfield in the parish of St Lucy as a deterrent to criminal activity off the northern coast of Barbados.

It could be funded with assistance from the Organization of American States and the Canadian and United States governments, all of whom have a vested interest in Caribbean security.

If drug smugglers and other criminal elements know that there is such a surveillance-equipped facility in the northern part of the island, they would probably think twice about trying to smuggle drugs into Barbados through that part of the island.

It would be a worthwhile investment by all of the parties involved and would pay substantial dividends down the road, so whichever political party wins the general election should make it a priority for the near future.

There are countries that are smaller than Barbados that have multiple airports or airfields that serve an important purpose in crime fighting and military training; so Barbados needs to elevate itself to that level of development. Not only would it provide law enforcement with additional tools and resources but would also provide employment for some of our northern brethren and contribute to the expansion of the Barbados economy as well. It would also be beneficial to Canada, Britain and the United States who all have a stake in the security of the Caribbean in general.

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Posted by Simon Templar 1 year, 8 months ago
It's all to easy to talk about building an additional airport. The fact that other small countries have two airports is no basis for arguing that Barbados "needs" to get one. What an absolutely spurious argument!

Indeed what is wrong with air surveillance assets taking off from GAIA? People always seem to forget that it all capital expenditures have current expenditure implications, one of the biggest of which is maintenance, not to mention salaries and wages.
Posted by Iain Edghill 1 year, 8 months ago
Mr. Templar is correct. Rather than building a new northern airport, use the air surveillance assets that Barbados has properly. Let the RSS Merlin take off from GAIA. It will take probably 5 minutes max to get to the surveillance station.

An alternative would be to set up remote surveillance monitoring sites all along the east and north coasts, which could be controlled from a central monitoring site. Once suspicious activity is reported, ground-based assets will have to be deployed, and interdiction effected.

The political will to enforce the law will also have to be there.
Posted by Leonard B 1 year, 8 months ago
I wholeheartedly agree with Ashley L. McCLean. There is another very important reason for a second airport in St. Lucy. We need a backup airport. If there is a problem which prevents an aircraft from landing at Grantley Adams the nearest alternative for a large plane is St. Lucia. I once flew in on an Air Canada plane which, on final approach with landing gear down, was forced to climb again and go into a circling pattern. After a few minutes of circling we headed to St. Lucia to refuel and await a clean up on the runway at Grantley Adams. This is not acceptable and can be avoided by building a runway in St. Lucy. This north coast airport can also be used for smaller planes, to reduce the load at Grantley Adams. Good suggestion by McClean. LB.
Posted by Iain Edghill 1 year, 8 months ago
Leonard B, have you been talking to The Hon. Denis Kellman?

Another airport for Barbados in the north?

How often, in the past 10 years, has GAIA been closed, causing aircraft to divert? Statistically speaking, the Air Canada example you gave, based on your personal experience, is the exception rather than the norm. Policy ought not to be created based on exceptions.

I have one further question for you Leonard B. Who is going to foot the multi-million dollar bill for this unneeded northern airport. Certainly not the GOB: they're broke! Maybe the Americans will pay for it, based on security considerations! Small problem, however, the Americans are broke too.

Time to get real.
Posted by Leonard B 1 year, 8 months ago
Iain Edghill: Its like life insurance, you may only need it once. We have been very fortunate that the GAIA has not suffered a major catastrophy and I pray that will continue to be the case. However, we now do not have a backup and, from what I can see, no contingency plan. By the way, I feel the same way about having a single hospital to serve this entire island.There should be another hospital in the north end of the island, preferably on a hill somewhere and not in another flood prone valley. LB.

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