An island lost at sea sends out SOS

Thanks to the credit crunch, the British parliament has put on hold a plan to build an airport for the tiny Atlantic island of St. Helena. Twelve hundred miles off the coast of Africa and best known as the place where Napoleon once languished in exile, the British colony is still the home of about ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
590945_081219_LocationSaintHelena5.jpg
590945_081219_LocationSaintHelena5.jpg

Thanks to the credit crunch, the British parliament has put on hold a plan to build an airport for the tiny Atlantic island of St. Helena. Twelve hundred miles off the coast of Africa and best known as the place where Napoleon once languished in exile, the British colony is still the home of about 6,500 people. Ships haven't had much reason to stop there since the Suez Canal was built and St. Helena depends on two visits per year from an ageing mail ship for any contact with the outside world.

Needless to say, they were pretty excited about the airport:

The project, which was scheduled for 2012, galvanised islanders to plan for a future with tourism as their main income. Industry experts trained hospitality personnel; tenders were taken to build upmarket boutique accommodation. Plans were hatched to lure back hundreds of young islanders who had left St Helena in search of opportunity.

Thanks to the credit crunch, the British parliament has put on hold a plan to build an airport for the tiny Atlantic island of St. Helena. Twelve hundred miles off the coast of Africa and best known as the place where Napoleon once languished in exile, the British colony is still the home of about 6,500 people. Ships haven’t had much reason to stop there since the Suez Canal was built and St. Helena depends on two visits per year from an ageing mail ship for any contact with the outside world.

Needless to say, they were pretty excited about the airport:

The project, which was scheduled for 2012, galvanised islanders to plan for a future with tourism as their main income. Industry experts trained hospitality personnel; tenders were taken to build upmarket boutique accommodation. Plans were hatched to lure back hundreds of young islanders who had left St Helena in search of opportunity.

“All our plans for the future were based on the airport project,” Eric Benjamin, one of the councillors, told The Times by telephone. “We are devastated.”

With Downing Street nearly two weeks away by ship, it’s a bit hard to hold a rally.

Map: Wikipedia

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.