Prime Minister Philip Davis said yesterday that his administration will launch an aggressive public works program to build and maintain critical infrastructure on Family Islands where it is desperately needed.
“The maintenance of current and the construction of new public infrastructure and superstructures represent critical support services and investment opportunities through public-private sector partnerships to buttress economic growth and development,” he said during his remarks at the Cat Island Business Outlook forum.
“My government appreciates this and has an aggressive public works program.
“Seawalls, bridges, schools, clinics, hospitals, docking facilities, harbors and airports have to be built and maintained to support new business developments.”
Davis noted that San Salvador in particular has suffered economically because of a lack of adequate healthcare services.
“We must learn from the painful lessons of the past,” he said.
“The government did provide a suitable airport to facilitate direct airlift into San Salvador to support the anchor resort there – Club Med.
“Regrettably, the government fell down in its public obligations and failed the people of San Salvador in its inability to complete the construction of and open a suitable healthcare facility on San Salvador, especially as COVID became an increasingly formidable existential public health threat.
“The result was the closure of the hotel because the owners and operators could not be assured by the government of prompt and timely access to proper health services if any of their staff or guests fell ill.”
Davis said “weighty political considerations” should not become a stumbling block to progress and growth.
As is the case on many of the Family Islands, infrastructure works are needed on Cat Island, which is a part of the constituency that Davis represents in Parliament.
In recent years, the state of Cat Island’s airport has been a point of concern for residents, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahead of the general election, photos showing the poor state of the airport in New Bight circulated.
At the time, Davis, as opposition leader, blamed the Minnis administration for abandoning the islands.
Though he spoke broadly of the need for maintenance of public infrastructure, Davis yesterday did not specifically address plans for the airport.