July 26, 2021

Peter Binose: Gonsalves and others – Argyle again

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maxresdefaultBy Peter Binose

Dr Ralph E Gonsalves, Mr Donald Jeremy McPhail, Dr Rudy Mathias this is my reply to your recent press briefing on Argyle International Airport.

For those of you who do know Mr McPhail I will tell you something about him. The OECS Heads of Government which included Ralph Gonsalves appointed Mr. Donald Jeremy McPhail to the post of Director General of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) with effect from 1st July 2012. It’s the heads of the OECS governments that decide about his future position and employment by ECCAA.

Mr. McPhail a national of Grenada was some part of the Maurice Bishop government machinery and a member of the Marxist-Leninist New Jewel Party [NJP]. He was a member of the Grenadian diplomatic community and was based in or linked to Cuba in that capacity.

So what? Well I keep remembering the words of Ralph Gonsalves when he told us he is here to finish the work of Maurice Bishop. Gonsalves helped certainly after the first few days of the revolution in Grenada, writing Bishops speeches and riding about with him in his car. They were well suited two young lawyers eaten up with Marxist-Leninist values both dreaming of being Castro revolutionaries. And also part of the equation is the involvement of the Cubans, both in Revolutionary Grenada and today’s Saint Vincent.

For your further reading

Mr. McPhail’s aviation career began in 1973 as an Air Traffic Controller/Meteorological Officer at the Pearls Airport and later at the Point Salines Airport. In between he was part of the Grenada revolution. He then served as Manager of Operations and later as General Manager of the Grenada Airports Authority from 1995 to 2001.

Now you know a little more about Mr McPhail, Ralph Gonsalves and the Cubans.

What I can tell you is this. With the help of the ECCAA the testing of the landing lights turned into a circus at Argyle. I believe that under the influence of somebody in the SVG government and the management of the ECCAA lies were told about the whole affair.

November 14 2015, Saturday, Arnos Vale at a ULP political election rally Gonsalves told the attendees “There is going to be a small plane, which is going to do a test flight, testing the approach lights at the Argyle International Airport. And I have asked them if they will allow me to come on that flight. This was also basically an untrue statement by Ralph Gonsalves, a great big lie mixed with a little truth.

The flight from ET Joshua Airport at Argyle to the unfinished and unlicensed Argyle Airport was simply to attend a ULP election rally on the terminal building aircraft apron. A tented stage with speakers and public address system had been set up on the apron. The aircraft had two ECCAA officials on board simply going to an election rally. In fact, the lights had not been calibrated by readings or data from any aircraft up to this time, certainly not during this landing and taking off.

The flight that Gonsalves took to the Argyle Airport was not a flight to test the approach lights at all, it was a flight to carry his family and others to Argyle so as he and they could be the first to land there, and then to hold a ULP pre-election rally.

There was no technical checking of the lights except what was normal adjustment during installation. In fact, the lights were not properly approved operational and adjusted for the landing of any of the four aircraft that landed at Argyle on Thursday November 19, 2015. Only that morning a generator was linked to the lights to power them on because they did not have a direct power supply to them, the lights had not been previously tested, some initial adjustments had been made but no testing for landing an aircraft had taken place along with the final and ultra important final adjustment and approval. The lights were not in fact tested until the following day Friday November 20, 2015, the same aircraft N40267 turned up and landed and took off several times, whilst in between engineers adjusted the lights several times, which is a critical procedure and took some best part of a very long morning, 9 am to 1.30pm. The aircraft did the same on Saturday morning 21 November 2015. So the approach lights had not been approved for an aircraft carrying a number of passengers to land on 19 November 2015. Or the lights were approved by the ECCAA before proper tests had been carried out and declared tested by someone in that organization.

What is more the runway was not finished and I sincerely believe unfit for landing on despite the declaration and approval by someone in ECCAA. Only the first two hundred feet had the finished surface and as aircraft landed and rolled down the runway there was a two inch drop from the finished surface to the unfinished surface. Had there of been a tyre blow out on any of the aircraft that landed and then hitting the height difference in the asphalt to tarred stone surface, this could very well of resulted in a loss of aircraft and life. Also the taxi ways were unfinished and unstable and should not have airtraffic using such areas.

Mr McPhail further said “the test flights conducted at the Argyle International airport last November have found that the airport, so far, has met the requirements.” But testing the lights most certainly did not find the airport met safety requirements. There are so many other safety checks to take place, such a statement is little more than nonsense.

According to the IWN article the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCA) did test flights to analyze the procedures of the airport and to see the behavior of the airplanes on the west of the airport and on the runway.

But how could testing lights do all that? Or is he saying the landing aircraft were used for test purposes which I am sure is an exclusion on any aircraft insurance policy that those aircraft had at the time.

The IWN article further said Director General of ECCAA, Donald McPhail told the media on Friday that his agency is satisfied with the test results.
“… all of them have been satisfactory,” he told a press conference hosted by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves after a meeting with airport stakeholders.
“They have all met the requirements,” McPhail said of the flights.

IWN reported that head of the International Airport Development Company, Rudy Matthias, said he is confident that the construction work will be finished by midyear.
Asked what other test would be necessary after construction is complete before the airport is certified to receive scheduled commercial flights, McPhail said:
“The main test will be an aeronautical study after we have done everything else, the aeronautical study will confirm that the entire airport, every aspect of it meets the requirements, the international requirements and that the airport is fit for purpose. It would indicate if we have overlooked anything and there will be a chance to effect the necessary corrections, but we don’t anticipate that we have left out anything.”

But what I would like to ask is how Mr McPhail can confirm in advance that the aeronautical study will confirm that Argyle airport, every aspect of it is fit for the purpose. Is he in fact saying that there is no possibility of it not being approved?

So comrades Gonsalves, McPhail and Mathias. The problem as I see it is that the airport is far from finished, how anyone can give it prior approval before it’s finished I really beg to ask.

I believe this whole thing is because there is likely to be a new election following the fact that voting irregularities took place in December 2015. If that happens Gonsalves cannot have a rerun of the Argyle testing fiasco. So now he is trying to whip up some more public support in which the airport plays a major part in any new election.

One of the things to be considered is that the demographics have changed since those first aircraft landed there. The runway has got a new surface on it which it did not have when they landed that group of small aircraft for the pre-election rally and even since LIAT landed there on an unfinished and an unsuitable runway. More sections of the inland cliffs have been shaved off and graded and much more rock removed. On both sides of the final third of the runway, where large aircraft will be lifting off and final rotation taking place with nowhere to go in an emergency but to ditch in the sea or crash into the Germans house in the bay the winds must have a very different reading today. Three small screening hills have recently been removed and used as fill on another part of the airport. The wind studies cannot be valid because this is now a different terrain to which the original wind studies applied. The last third of the runway is where the prevailing winds are at their heaviest, more so because hills and mounds have since been removed, wind behavior will have been altered; there is no longer a screening of the last third of the runway. Any cross winds will certainly now be free to blast across the runway to the detriment of aircraft taking off.

I am very disturbed by all this and I just hope that none of that old Marxist solidarity is part of the equation.

I would like to ask the following and it is only a question or set of questions, because I do not currently know the true answer to such questions. But I have asked and await some answers. Just got the confirmation about Mr McPhails past so we are ready to go.

1/ What part did Ralph Gonsalves play in McPhail getting the top job at the ECCAA?

2/ How well did Gonsalves know McPhail in the days of the Grenada revolution?

3/ Are Gonsalves and McPhail old comrades linked by comradeship and solidarity?

4/ Other being the Grenadian New Jewel representative in Cuba was and is McPhail an old friend of Cuba?

Some further reading





Or simply put this in your search engine to see dozens of reports by me

‘Peter Binose, Argyle’

By the way the owners of the land that the airport is built on still have not been paid for their land.

The airport is built on swamps and water springs.

The airport hospital facilities do not meet the basic requirements for an international airport emergency situation.

There are no rescue boats anywhere in SVG.

There are no rescue helicopters anywhere in SVG.

The Cubans have taken ten years to finish a three year project whilst milking the SVG economy for every cent we had.

Sorry got to go now the stink is overpowering.

Peter [told you so] Binose

DISCLAIMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com or official policies of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com.

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