The Government of Barbados is once again assuring the public that the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) is not up for sale.
This is according to Minister of Tourism and International Transport Ian Gooding-Edghill who was delivering a Ministerial Statement during Friday’s evening session of Parliament.
He sought to clarify details regarding a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Office of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of Dubai which was announced on July 18.
“There has been considerable public discussion about all aspects of the negotiation process and even its conclusion. As a matter of fact, there was even misinformation circulating to the effect that the Grantley Adams International Airport had been sold to a private entity,” he said.
“The airport has not been sold and will not be sold. I make it clear that the airport very much remains the sole property of the Government of Barbados on behalf of its citizens.”
He continued saying: “In addition, the agreement is a state-to-state arrangement, meaning that the contract is governed by the Governments of Barbados and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Not only is the asset remaining the property of Barbados, but additionally, the people of Barbados through the staff of GAIA, will have an opportunity to become individual shareholders in the entity.”
The MOU with The Office of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of Dubai and Agencias Universales S.A. of Chile was announced on July 18. At the cost of approximately BDS $300 million, it will focus toward a new Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the investment, development and operation of the airport, a hemispheric hub for cargo, expanded airlift and additional luxury.
That agreement follows a prior MOU agreement between the Governments of Barbados and the UAE which looked towards closer commercial interests, especially in the areas of transport and travel sectors.
To applause from Members present, Gooding Edghill reaffirmed that this administration had no intention of divesting its legal responsibility for border security like their predecessors, insisting that it would always remain under the auspices of the Government of Barbados and its national security agencies.
He also announced that after the finalising of that agreement, there would also be negotiations taking place over the next 90 days for a concession agreement.
The Minister of Tourism and International Transport will announce a town hall meeting soon to present the plan to locals and answer any questions Barbadians may have on the deal. (JC)