Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Elizabeth Thompson says it’s about time governments and the private sector inside the Caribbean make a more determined effort to search out a sustainable air and marine transport service that can profit the region as a complete.
Speaking during debate on the Airport Service Charge Bill 2022 within the Senate on Wednesday, Senator Thompson said: “If we’re to consider CARICOM [Caribbean Community] as a regional bloc and look at the Caribbean Single Market and Economy as a living thing, we must be sure that people, goods and services can move across the region more easily and at competitive rates. Why is it that in any case this time we still cannot get regional travel right?”
She spoke of a number of the issues Caribbean travellers had handled over time, including high costs and inconveniences.
“You arrive in a single destination to search out that your luggage is in one other, otherwise you discover that the plane you were counting on to take you to your destination has been re-routed, leaving you stranded. And, most individuals, in the event that they find it’s virtually the identical sum of money to travel to a Caribbean island because it is to travel to Miami or New York, they might decide to go to certainly one of those cities quite than the Caribbean,” she said.
Senator Kristina Hinds also lamented the inconvenience of travelling through the region at present.
“Just last week, I needed to do a presentation at a Commonwealth conference in St Kitts, and certainly one of my colleagues from Grenada and I spent two weeks attempting to get a affordable flight. Nonetheless, despite the fact that St Kitts really will not be that distant from us, we were expected to fly to Miami first after which back all the way down to St Kitts. We did our presentations via Zoom as an alternative of going to all that trouble but, satirically, the participants who got here to that conference from the UK got a direct flight,” she said.
Senator Thompson added that until the governments and personal sector can get regional travel priced right, including taking a look at seat capability and determining probably the most viable routes, “we is not going to truly maximise our potential”. “Given the proven fact that some people in our source markets lower your expenses for years before coming here, it may be an idea to make multi-destination tickets available, in order that in the event that they come down for every week they might get the possibility to enjoy about three different countries during that point,” she added.
Senator Thompson added that if Caribbean governments are serious about regional food security, reliable airlift and maritime transportation are required.
“I’d suggest some fast ferries to maneuver people, products, and livestock throughout the Caribbean, especially provided that the CARICOM region is the just one with which we in Barbados have a trade surplus,” she said. (DH)