by David Hinkson
While Barbados and at the very least two countries on the African continent, namely Kenya and Ghana, have been forging greater ties and establishing trading and diplomatic relationships, the world of economically viable transportation links stays outstanding.
And there may be now a suggestion that Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours should approach the matter in another way, especially because it pertains to air travel.
Speaking during a recent virtual discussion placed on by the Culture division of the Prime Minister’s Office entitled, “Africans at home and abroad: Their experiences and problems faced”, Barbados’ Ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS), Noel Lynch, said a regionally based airline must be leading the best way.
“Right away, Barbados and lots of of its counterparts within the region don’t own a single boat or aircraft and we’ve got to depend on our former slave masters to perform these flights between Barbados and Africa. To my mind, moderately than signing Memoranda of Understanding between air carriers, I believe one of the best idea could be for us within the Caribbean to truly put money into the flight; we’d like to fly our own planes with our own pilots.
Right away, Trinidad and Tobago has the one airline operating within the region, and I believe in the event you want that direct airlink, moderately than having to undergo London or another city in Europe, we should always confer with the people within the Caribbean who’ve planes and who can fly them.”
Barbados’ Ambassador to Ghana, Phil Phillips, noted that the Barbados Government has already begun negotiating with at the very least three Africa-based airlines, but added that “We’ve got to place matters into context, because right now we’re coming out of the pandemic, are presently experiencing high fuel prices and most of the world’s economies will not be growing at high rates.” Regarding Lynch’s point, Philips said that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley had talked about establishing a Caribbean Airlines flight from Trinidad to Ghana.
Phillips also noted that ocean freight was one other area being considered, but he believed that for this to be viable, “We’d like to attain scale, so it might be best if a ship left Ghana and travelled not simply to Barbados, but across the remainder of the Caribbean and into South America to make it worthwhile.”
One in every of the opposite participants within the discussion, Paulette Elliott, who relies in the UK, suggested a trial run before signing any agreements with airlines. “There are a variety of airlines based in Africa that fly on to destinations within the Americas; why not allow them to use Barbados as a hub to connect with the opposite Caribbean countries? Beyond that, we should always consider having some direct flights as a ‘trial run’ after which do a feasibility study to find out whether it is practical.”
On one other matter, Senior Business Development Officer with the Africa Desk at Export Barbados, Madou Diagne, called for greater diplomatic ties between Africa and Barbados, given the proven fact that more Africans were coming to work and study on the island. “While we’ve got been developing trade relationships, we’ve got probably not done much in the world of diplomatic relations.
We’ve got a variety of Africans studying at Ross University and the opposite offshore medical schools in Barbados, in addition to the Ghanaian nurses who’ve been here for over a yr, but after they encounter certain challenges there isn’t any one on the bottom representing them. Having a diplomatic presence here would help them tremendously, and would also assist them in sending funds and other items to their families back home.”