Roseau, Dominica – April 15, 2008…….Night landing at the Melville Hall Airport has moved a significant step closer to becoming a reality with the completion of Package Three (3) and a substantial part of Package Four (4) of the Air Access Improvement Programme by the 6th Division of the Army Corp of Engineers from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
On Friday, April 4th 2008, the Government of Dominica held a farewell ceremony at the Melville Hall Airport in honour of the Venezuelan Army Corp of Engineers who were engaged from 2005 on Packages Three and Four of the Melville Hall Airport Air Access Improvement Programme.
Package Three involved excavation and earth movement and river diversion to create RESA (Reserve End Safety Area) to the West while Package Four comprised land reclamation, road realignment and coastal defence works to create RESA to the east.
The completion of the works by the Venezuelan Technical Mission paves the way for the commencement in June of this year of Package Two- that of runway and apron resurfacing and marking, navigation and lighting equipment installation, drainage and fencing.
In his address at the farewell ceremony, Minister for Ports, Hon. Charles Savarin highlighted the sterling efforts of the Venezuelan Army engineers in completing this project.
” The men of the 6th Division of the Army Corps of Engineers have excelled in their endeavours on this project, showing remarkable resilience and dedication to duty since their arrival in Dominica in 2005. Working day and night-five, six, and most recently , seven days a week, as the time for delivery of the project approached.”
Hon. Savarin also mentioned several factors which contributed to delays on the project. Breakdowns of equipment, weather-related delays and the complement of manpower all served to adversely impact on the realization of the performance schedule originally envisaged for the Project.
In his address acting Prime Minister, Hon. Ambrose George highlighted the support of the Venezuelan government in the execution of the project and its support in other areas of national development.
” The support of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for this key development programme of Dominica is another manifestation of the commitment of our countries to advance those projects and programmes which will help stimulate economic growth and improved standards of living for our peoples.
” Dominica has been fortunate to have Venezuela’s support and friendship on this project and on several development programmes being pursued by this government , in housing, health, education and infrastructure. With a formal diplomatic history that spans over two decades , the bilateral relations between our countries has deepened in recent years and we expect further strengthening of these relations as our countries work together for economic and social advancement of our peoples.”
Hon. Ambrose George who is the Minister for Infrastructural Development praised the speed with which the Venezuelan President, His Excellency, Hugo Chavez Frias responded to the Dominica government’s request for assistance on the Melville Hall Airport project.
” The swift and decisive response of President Hugo Chavez to our request in 2005 , for assistance on the airport project is the reason that we stand here today, two years later to get ready to launch into the resurfacing and lighting phase of the Air Access Development Programme. To the President Hugo Chavez and the people of Venezuela, to the courageous men of the Venezuelan Army Corps of Engineers who have laboured on this project, the Government and people of Dominica express sincere gratitude.”
In her address at the farewell ceremony Venezuela’s Ambassador to Dominica, Her Excellency, Carmen Martinez de Grijalva, visibly moved by the moment described the day as a ” special and historic moment”.
” A new chapter is writing in the history in the relations between Venezuela and Dominica. This project is further evidence of the friendship and mutual respect between the people and Government of Venezuela and Government and people of Dominica,” the Venezuelan Ambassador stated.
The welcome address at the farewell ceremony was delivered by the Parliamentary Representative for the Marigot constituency, Hon. Edison James.
The Air Access Improvement Programme is funded by the European Commission and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.