Prime Minister of Grenada Dr Keith Mitchell has defended his Government’s move to rehabilitate the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the ground-breaking ceremony last Wednesday to mark the commencement of the project, Dr Mitchell pointed out that the rehabilitation of the MBIA is critical to the further development of Grenada, particularly since the country seeks to position itself for the anticipated recovery in the tourism sector.
“This is a necessary investment and the timing is right. The provision of the most modern and technologically advanced facility is crucial for the tourism industry specifically, and generally, for the economic growth and development of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” he said.
Apart from its economic benefit, the upgrades to MBIA will ensure that the Grenada Government “provide safe, secure, efficient and world-class airport facilities and services that are consistent with international standards and which will, in fact, support the economic development of our country”, Dr Mitchell shared.
“This is a responsibility we do not take lightly; and it is, in fact, included in the mission statement of the Grenada Airports Authority,” he added.
Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Clarice Modeste-Curwen, in her remarks, also underscored the importance of the airport upgrade project to ensure the maintenance of safety standards, the further development of tourism, and facilitate more efficient cargo operations.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Minister for Infrastructure Development Senator Norland Cox outlined the general objectives of the rehabilitation project, which include improving the landing and take-off conditions for aircraft, lower airport operating costs for passengers and cargo, and increased passenger comfort and convenience.
Due to the nature of the project, the airport rehabilitation will fall under the Public Sector Investment Programme with funding through a concessional loan from the People’s Republic of China — the first loan that Grenada has taken from China.
The prime minister opined that a combination of public and private sector projects must spur the country’s development thrust.
“As we move forward, the growth of the country and its economy is crucial for the provision of jobs and improving the lives of people. We are happy with the level of development we are seeing in both the public and private sectors, and we expect to see some excellent opportunities for growth and development in 2021 and onwards,” Dr Mitchell emphasised.