St. Vincent: Government owes millions for lands used to build new airport

By CMC

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Camillo Gonsalves

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb 4, CMC – The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government has acknowledged owing an estimated EC$33 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) for lands acquired at Argyle for the construction of the Argyle International Airport, which opened in February 2017.

Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves said the outstanding payment is due to the fact that the authorities are still trying to determine ownership of the lands that were acquired.

He told Parliament that the lands for which payment is yet to be made are divided into two categories: lands with deeds, and lands where ownership issues remain unsettled.

“And the majority of those 125 plots are lands which we are still trying to ascertain who to pay because there is no deed for the land,” he said.

Gonsalves said that as at June 7 last year, the outstanding amount for the lands with deeds was EC$19.4 million inclusive of interest, while the sum owed on the lands without deeds was EC$13.7 million inclusive of interest, adding that the exact total owed is EC$33,109,354.

“The government and the IADC (International Airport Development Company) are currently completing a plan to address the settlement of these amounts owed to these remaining land owners. We continue to work to try to ascertain land ownership issues because that has been a very lengthy process in some cases and even though the majority still are without deeds, that number has been falling as we have been working to resolve that issue,’ Gonsalves told legislators.

He said while he does not have a date as to when the matter would most likely to resolved “ the plan is on-going and we hope to announce the details of the plan in this current year”.

The airport was built at an estimated cost of EC$700 million.

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