Development History - Development History

Year 2010

Having completed 30 percent of the earthworks in 2009, it was projected that an additional 35 percent would be completed in 2010. This was to be made possible with the extra pieces of  equipment that were bought in October the previous year.

In addition to transportation, excavation and creation of embankments, work also began on the installation of box culverts to channel water under the runway in the first kilometer.

The IADC and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Trust continued in 2010, to collaborate to ensure that this country’s heritage is preserved. Following two previous working visits by archaeologists, the IADC and the National Trust in January welcomed again a third set of archaeologists, this team coming from Leiden University in the Netherlands.

One of the objectives was to combine their findings with those from similar sites in other Windward Islands to determine how these people, whom they described as mysterious, lived from the pre-Colonial era right up to the 18th century.

From these excavations St. Vincent and the Grenadines recorded two major discoveries: the first being the discovery of a long house, 35 meters long, the first one to be discovered in the entire Caribbean.  This was exposed by a team of Canadian Archaeologists headed by Jo Moravetz.  The second was the first Cayo habitation site exposed in part by post holes by the archaeologists from Leiden University.

In 2010, the IADC launched its search for a contractor to construct the landside facilities. These included the Terminal building, Control Tower, Cargo building, Fire fighting/Crash and Rescue building, Electrical Substation, Access and Circulation roads, Parking, and associated civil works.

The closing date and time for prequalification applications was set at May 10, 2010.

Work on a temporary access road for residents of Mt. Pleasant and visitors to the Rawacou Beach Resort began amidst preparations for the removal of part of the Windward Highway to link the 1st and 2nd kilometers of the runway. Trenches were also dug to facilitate the construction of a culvert also within the 1st kilometer of the runway to convey rain water under the runway down to the sea.

In the meantime, the detailed designs for the terminal building were completed and the process of tendering for the construction of the terminal building and other landside facilities was ongoing.

At the end of September 2010, it was revealed that the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) will be injecting approximately EC$14 million into the Argyle International Airport. The CDF announced that its Board of Directors had approved a Country Assistance Programme (CAP) to the Government of St.Vincent and the Grenadines for US $4,210,000 to be used by the Argyle International Airport Development Company (IADC).

The provision was divided into a grant of US$1,640,000 and a concessional loan of US$2,570,000.

In October 2010, the Argyle International Airport received community support from the Rawacou Development Council Corporation ( RDCC). Speaking prior to the handing over, Vice President of the RDCC, Vincent Benjamin stated that the airport coming on stream was an important initiative and that the Rawacou site stands to benefit possibly more than any other site from the spinoffs that would come from the airport.

The cheque for EC$500.00 was handed over by Member of RDCC, Peter Pompey who explained that the money donated was taken from profits realized by the group through its various fundraising efforts.

On Tuesday November 30th, 2010, the Board of Directors of the International Airport Development Company Limited (IADC) approved the awarding of contract for the construction of the terminal building to the Taiwanese firm, Overseas Engineering and Construction Company Ltd. (OECC).

This contract was to see the terminal building constructed at a cost of US$25,094,530, with Construction work set to commence in January 2011.

The modern terminal building was designed by another Taiwanese firm, CECI Engineering Consultants Inc.

 Year 2011

In January 2011, Four members of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture arrived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to investigate and advice on the possible relocation of the Petroglyphs at Yamboo.

The relocation of the petroglyphs which were resting on the Western side of the Airport’s fence was part of a wider Cultural Heritage Plan proposed by the National Trust and funded by the International Airport Development Company (IADC) in the sum of EC$460.000.00

The visit of the Egyptians was however made possible through the government of Egypt.

The four member team was headed by Architect, Abu EL Dardaa Abuzaid , Chief of Technical and Engineering Affairs. They remained in the country for two weeks, during which they also advised the National Trust and made recommendations for prehistoric heritage conservation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, particularly on the relocation and preservation of the petroglyphs at Yambou.

It was announced in early 2011, that IADC had decided to do the site works, and construct all internal roads, drainage, and parking areas using resources at its disposal.  It was also announced that the IADC will at some stage in 2011 enter into contracts with private firms for the construction of the Aircraft Fire Fighting and Rescue Station, Cargo Terminal Building and Control Tower.

July 12th 2011 was hailed as a historic day in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Without a doubt it was an historic day in the life of the Argyle Airport project. That’s when the contract for the construction of the terminal building was signed at Cabinet room.

The contract was signed between the International Airport Development Company (IADC) and Taiwanese firm, Overseas Engineering and Construction Company Ltd (OECC). Chairman and CEO of the IADC Dr. Rudolph Matthias and Corporate Secretary Rochelle Forde signed on behalf of the IADC, while, Mr. Peter Chung-Zen signed on behalf of the OECC.

The contract was worth US$26, 500,000.00 and covered the construction of the passenger terminal building, electrical substation, internal and external signage, and related preliminaries.

Another historic event took place on Sunday August 7th, 2011, with the turning of the sod to signal the start of construction of the Terminal building. This was followed by the actual start of construction a few days later.

 Year 2012

The year 2012, saw the completion of construction of the box culverts in the 1st kilometer of the project and the start of construction of a second drainage system in the 2nd kilometer.

It was also in 2012, that the areas on which the Asphalt, Concrete and Stone Crushing Plants were to be located were identified.

Dozens of Vincentian nationals who have lived most of their working lives outside St. Vincent and the Grenadines and who have returned home to enjoy their retirement continued in 2012 to make financial contributions to the construction of the Argyle International Airport.

The group called Returning Nationals SVG on December 13th 2011 handed- over EC$25,000.00 to Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, for the Argyle International Airport (AIA) Contributory Fund. The donation up to that time was the single largest local donation to the fund.

On May 9th 2012, Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, was again on hand to receive yet another donation from “Returning Nationals SVG”.  On this occasion the amount of money donated was EC$20,000.00, monies raised at a fund raising barbeque held at Black point on Easter Monday April 9th 2012, bringing the total then to EC$45,000.00 donated to the Contributory Fund by “Returning Nationals SVG”.

Construction of the Argyle International Airport continued to move by leaps and bounds in 2012 as the IADC worked feverishly to keep the project on schedule for completion by the end of 2013.  To this end the IADC in August 2012, welcomed the arrival of the Stone Crushing Plant and five new Dump Trucks among other equipment.

Other equipment which also arrived included; the paver, two front end loaders, and a rock Hammer, these equipment including the dump trucks arrived under the supply of quarry and base laying equipment contract with RIMCO. The purchase of these equipment was made possible through the Caricom Development Fund (CDF).

The IADC, also in August 2012, welcomed a delegation from the CDF which was on the ground to assess the progress being made on the site and to see firsthand the equipment which were purchased from their funds.

The delegation was headed by Mr. Lennox Forte-Director of regional development division of the CDF and included Programme Specialist, Keiron Barker-CDF’s Relationship Officer for SVG and Wayne Vidalist-Financial Controller.

On October 9th the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was notified that the CDF had approved a second loan for the Argyle International Airport to the tune of eight million eight hundred and seven thousand four hundred Eastern Caribbean Dollars  (EC$8,807,400.00).

The money was to be used for the purchasing of equipment for the paving works and laboratory testing.

On Tuesday October 30, 2012, eight members of the visiting United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn, New York took a detour from their mission which involved donating medical supplies to rural clinics across St. Vincent and the Grenadines to make a special donation of two-thousand US dollars to the Argyle International Airport.

Founder and President of the group, Dr. Roxie Irish, also donated US$300.00 to the project on behalf of two family members.

The first tours of the inside of the passenger terminal also took place in November and December when members of the board and Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves visited the site.

On his visit in December, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with the progress being made with the airport’s construction.

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