In response to Mr Sase Loaknauth’s letter in SN of March 16, captioned ‘An airstrip on Leguan is the right way to go,’ it appears that his long absence from Leguan has deprived him of the reality to grasp the rapid economic and social changes on the island which has been in decline for the past several years, and that construction of an airstrip on a remote part of the island is unlikely to halt the slide in the living standards of its people, despite his optimism.
Contrary to Mr Loaknauth’s assertions, I did not attack the Government of Guyana (GoG) in my letter, but instead expressed my views as a concerned citizen that constructing an airstrip in Leguan at this time was not the most efficient way to allocate scarce resources to improve the living conditions of the people when there are other needed priorities, such as improving the road system, providing a reliable electricity supply 24/7 as well as an adequate potable water system, and infrastructure necessary to jump-start the development of a strong, economically independent farmers’ community.
Mr Loaknauth’s hallucinations that there are cut flowers, seafood, melons and anxious passengers on the island waiting at a remote destination and hoping to be flown to a foreign market/city are figments of his imagination, since it will take years to develop large-scale projects with the potential and capabilities he has been dreaming about. An airstrip will no doubt help to move products to markets quickly when large-scale production is developed, and it becomes economic to do so. But until such time, GoG should assist the people with projects which bring them the maximum benefits in the shortest possible time, unlike an airstrip which is not economically and financially viable, and with minimal maintenance and little or no traffic it will soon become a resting place for cattle, sheep, dogs and criminals as the Chateau Margot Police Training School so amply attests to.
It is not too late for GoG to change course and assist Leguan in its economic revival by concentrating its efforts as a start to improving the roads and constructing two wind turbines of the required capacity on its north-west coast to provide cheap and reliable electricity island-wide.
With the addition of good potable water supply, investors will be attracted to the expansion and diversification of primary products, such as milk pasteurization, fish and beef and the canning and freezing of vegetables. The wind turbines could be established as a pilot project for GPL and the data collected from their design, construction and performance could provide the basis for state-wide development of cheap alternative electricity supply.