(SNO) — Former Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Vieux Fort South, Dr. Kenny Anthony, is expressing concerns over the Hewanorra Airport Project and its ramification for the economy of Saint Lucia.
In a social media post, he pointed out that there is celebration over the US$100-million project by the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) but no one appears concerned over the immediate consequences of it.
“Not even the diplomatic ramifications of this loan seem to matter,” Anthony wrote.
Recently, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet announced that Taiwan has agreed to lend Saint Lucia US$100-million for the redevelopment of the airport.
He said the loan is being supported by the airport development charge.
The government has been boasting that the project will help transform the south and significantly boost the island’s economy.
But Anthony is not that optimistic.
He made references to Senator Adrian Augier’s contribution in the Senate when he calculated the cost of the loan.
“He pointed out that ‘the interim interest payments for the first five years is $60 million,'” he wrote. “If interest of 3.5 % is calculated ‘for the 15 years of repayment,’ a sum of $520-million additional, or half a billion dollars, has to be found. In effect, the total cost of the project ‘over the life of 20 years’ will be $850 million.”
Anthony described that cost as “staggering”.
“And we have been told that the entire project will cost US$170-million. To date only US$100-million has been identified so a further US $70 million is yet to be sourced,” he stated.
He again pointed out to Augier’s contribution in the Senate, when he said, “That is a huge amount and it is not inconsequential and we really ought to have a much clearer idea as to how the people and the unborn children of Saint Lucia are going to pay this debt.”
Anthony also said the issue is not just the repayment of the debt, “but crucially, the implications for the Debt/GDP ratio of the country and its future capacity to borrow.”