The Dominica government says it will begin making payments to persons whose lands have been acquired for the construction of an international airport on the island’s northeast coast.
“We have started negotiations with land owners and property owners and in the next few weeks we will start payments to some of these land owners who have concluded negotiations with the government’s negotiating team,’ Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said.
“I am hoping that in the next few months we will conclude on the acquisitions of the lands,” he said, adding “thus far there has been absolutely no resistance on the part of property owners and so we looking forward to make the first payments about four million dollars (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) negotiated so far….”
Last November, Skerrit told the nation that “with the solid support of the People’s Republic of China, Dominica will have its international airport and work will begin in earnest in 2020, the year of our Lord”.
He also indicated last year that his administration had received firm proposals from a number of countries, including India for the construction of the airport that is expected to be situated on lands between the Woodford Hill and Wesley villages.
The government has also announced that an international airport development committee will be appointed early next month “because the whole idea of the government is not for the government to be hugging this project by itself and for itself, but to utilise the expertise available to it”.
Skerrit said the nominations for members of the committee will be discussed at the Cabinet on Tuesday, adding “we believe that with the presence of an international airport it will certainly complement the thrust in tourism, the thrust in agriculture”.
In 2013, Prime Minister Skerrit announced that he had signed a US$300-million deal with Chinese company ASCG with “reconstruction of an international airport” among projects to be undertaken under the agreement..