I had to come back with this quick follow-up post because our older folks told us to strike the iron while the anvil is hot. A former Caribbean diplomat, Sir Ronald Sanders, writing in the Caribbean 360 online newspaper today has echoed some sentiments that made me look carefully to ensure it wasn’t my writing. I guess brilliant minds think alike. *_*
One of the revelations that Sir Ronald makes is that the very high prices charged for our beloved LIAT‘s tickets are dual mostly to the high government taxes. This is sad and shows the pervading colonial type mentality in terms of economic provisions still reigning among our leaders. Can you imagine that LIAT pays such regularly high landing fees and still our governments are charging the consumers and traveling public so much heavy-duty taxes on their tickets. Some of us, on all of this, still has to pay a departure tax to leave our own island home!
How much longer will our Caribbean citizens be held as hostages for myopic government aviation policies?
In his article as well, Sir Ronald analyses on the political wrestling match that has been going on between Redjet and its opposing countries of Jamaica and Trinidad. I am sharing a direct quote from the article. It is particularly important because as a Vincentian I must be concerned about the level of respect shown (or not shown) to my country and its leader.
Here, now, is the quote:
“What is even worse, at no time was St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves brought into the wounding discussions over permitting Redjet to fly – and he is the person in the CARICOM quasi-cabinet with responsibility for overseeing air transportation. Redjet may have been given permission to fly to Trinidad and Jamaica thereby adding to their Guyana route, but that is only a battle, a real war is yet to come unless good sense infects the thinking of CARICOM’s leadership and a sensible aviation policy is established taking account of both commercial realities and public good.”
I could not have put it any better myself!
I believe that it is up to the citizens of the region to arise, just like the Barbados Prime Minister, and say enough is enough. It is from Sir Ronald Sanders article today that I am learning that Jamaica and Trinidad have been in discussions aimed at having the government of Trinidad and its carrier Caribbean Airlines (CAL) buy over the Jamaican airline Air Jamaica.
It also seems that the Trinidad government is subsidizing the fuel of CAL so as to give it a comparative advantage; however, even Trinidadians are running headlong to Redjet because they are booking seats faster than the spreading of a fire along a dried hillside.
I’d like to recommend Sir Ronald’s article and so I’m including its link here: