By RON FANFAIR
St. Vincent & the Grenadines has grown in recent times as a tourism destination and a magnet for foreign investment. As such, the government saw the need to build a new airport which is now under construction and expected to be completed by March 2012 at a cost of some Can$130 million.
“The airport is a very costly venture, but it will do a lot for our development,” said Minister of Tourism, Youth & Sport Glen Beache, who was in Toronto last week.
Not having a proper airport “hinders what we can presently do, not just from a tourism point of view. We are an agricultural country and exportation of products is hindered because we can’t accommodate large aircrafts.”
Beache said he’s disappointed that Canada along with the United States and England did not step forward to help finance the airport construction.
“It did not happen, but that does not affect our close and very cordial relationship with Canada,” he added.
Several Caribbean and international countries, including Taiwan, Austria, Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela are providing funding and technical assistance to the airport project.
On a personal note, family considerations may force Beache to return to the Greater Toronto Area – where he was born and raised – after he quits politics early next year. He said he has decided not to run in the next elections constitutionally due to be held no later than March 28, 2011.
Beache won the South Windward seat in St. Vincent & the Grenadines in the last elections in 2005, replacing his father, Sir Vincent Beache, who is currently a national security consultant to the country’s Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
While in Toronto to promote the 32-island archipelago as a destination of choice for nationals and other Canadians, the Carleton University graduate did not rule out the possibility of returning.
“I don’t know what I am going to do after I leave politics,” he told Share. “I need to take care of some personal business that being in politics will not allow me to do. If I find a good job in Canada, I just might return. I am leaving all my options open.”
Beache has two young children, including a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter who has been diagnosed with an illness that requires specialized treatment.
“I am not going to downplay the medical care in St. Vincent & the Grenadines which is very good, but obviously the Canadian system is world renowned and she will have more opportunities here,” he said.
Prior to going to Carleton, Beache also attended Humber College and York University and did his Masters in Public and Social Policy in England. He also spent a year working as a consultant in Taiwan where he secured a certificate in Mandarin before relocating to St. Vincent & the Grenadines to pursue a political career.