St Lucia Planning Redevelopment, Private Management of Hewanorra Airport

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Above: Hewanorra International Airport in St Lucia

By the Caribbean Journal staff

St Lucia’s government is planning to allow its Hewanorra International Airport to be managed independently.

The country announced this week that a bill would be laid in Parliament to allow the airport to be run by an “independent entity” on the basis of competitive bidding.

“The Saint Lucia Government has plans to improve operations at the Hewannorra International Airport through a public/private partnership,” the government said in a release.

According to St Lucia Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy, the aim is to “ensure that redevelopment of the airport does not come at an unmanageable cost to the state.”

“Government is being assisted by the International Finance Corporation, an entity owned by the World Bank, in developing this framework,” Louisy said.

The proposed public-private partnership would “redefine the role of the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority,” she said.

“This approach will relieve SLASPA of some of their responsibilities while allowing the new entity to utilize SLASPA’s employees to manage and redevelop the airport without causing a strain on the public purse,” she said. “This will offer a greater level of service to the traveling public, and provide an international gateway that all Saint Lucians may be proud of.”

If realized, St Lucia’s plan would make it the latest in a series of new Caribbean airport project, including newly-launched projects in Grand Cayman and those closer to completion like St Vincent and Antigua.

Note: An earlier version of the headline of this story included the word “privatization,” clearly referring to the independent management of the airport mentioned in the story. CJ decided to amend the headline after a stern objection from a representative of the St Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, who claimed that the word “privatization” had a unique definition in St Lucia.