St Helena is the main Island of group three inhabited islands in the South Atlantic that also include Ascension and Tristan Da Cuhna. The British Government has announced a âpauseâ in its negotiations over the contract for the construction of an airport on St Helena. This effectively brings the project to a halt. The airport is vital to reduce the isolation of over 4,000 inhabitants who are loyal British citizens and give them and thousands of other âSaintsâ in the UK and other countries hope for a better future. St Helena has changed in recent years from the idyllic paradise of past memories. Life is becoming increasingly desperate for many people. There are only limited opportunities for skilled workers and young people, many of whom are being forced to leave their families to seek work abroad. Over a hundred and fifty children and young adults are now in informal foster care as a result. The close family unit upon which Saint Helena prided itself is fast breaking down. The population is now increasingly comprised of the elderly and children. Consequently revenue will continue to decrease, the Island will become more dependent on British Aid and its viability will continue to be eroded by isolation and economic decline. An airport provides the only real hope of reversing the Islands dependence by enabling it to develop tourism and other businesses. A sustainable high value, low volume tourism industry would inject cash into the community whilst minimising negative impacts. St Helena needs this to survive. Saints do not want UK handouts. Being able to provide for itself would restore pride and motivation to the Islands community. The airport project has been planned for over six years and was scheduled to be completed by 2012. It had galvanised islanders to plan for a future of self sufficiency after years of steady decline. Whilst the Island is grateful for the many years it has been served by the RMS St Helena, sea access alone has not stimulated economic development; nor will it in future. The RMS is also increasingly expensive to maintain and will need to be replaced in a few years at considerable cost A decision not to build an airport would be a false economy. Continued shipping subsidies will ultimately cost the British taxpayer far more than the cost of an airport and offers Saints no prospect of self sufficiency.