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Permanent Secretary writes strong letter to LIAT

Permanent Secretary writes strong letter to LIAT


Permanent Secretary in Ministry of National Security Godfred Pompey has written a strong letter to the Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT), demanding that the airline gets its act and attitude together when it comes to the service being provided to this country.

Pompey has also demanded that LIAT’s management meet in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) sometime between September 5 and 16 to discuss the way forward.

The letter, addressed to LIAT’s Antigua based legal counsel Diane Shurland, and entitled “LIAT’s Operation/Schedule-SVG Experience,” stresses that since the month of June, LIAT’s service to SVG has been deteriorating with no improvement in sight.{{more}}

“As a Major Shareholder, St Vincent and the Grenadines has been receiving the crumbs in terms of service,” noted Pompey in in the September 5 letter, adding that officers at LIAT are now taking pleasure in shifting the blame of LIAT’s poor service to the Ministry of National Security here, and by extension the management of the ET Joshua Airport.

The Ministry of National Security has responsibility for air and sea travel into and out of SVG.

According to the letter, LIAT has been making demands to keep the ET Joshua Airport open at times beyond 2 a.m. and according to Pompey, this is “highly unacceptable” since some of staff members are required to report to work at the opening of the airport at 5:30 a.m.

“From observation, LIAT’s management including operations, is taking St Vincent and the Grenadines for granted and abusing our accommodation,” stressed Pompey, noting that the demands for extended operating hours at the ET Joshua Airport are unbearable and unreasonable as the situation is not only placing extra strain on staff, but also increasing the frustration of the travelling public.

“One is now questioning the frequency of these late night flights and cancellation of services to St Vincent and the Grenadines to determine whether or not they are deliberate,” said Pompey, demanding the urgent meeting with a view to enhancing the service to this country.

Pompey noted also that his Ministry is also proposing billing LIAT for staff overtime once a request is made for extension beyond the 11:30 p.m. agreed operating hours.

According to Pompey, the situation with LIAT was further exacerbated on Saturday, September 3, when flight LI 738 to Trinidad and Tobago on which the SVG football team was booked was ordered to return here by someone in Operations, Antigua, with the understanding that the team would be accommodated on the early morning flight to Trinidad and Tobago, when the team‘s connecting flight out of Trinidad and Tobago on a Copa flight was 6:15 a.m. Sunday, September 4.

“Up to our discussion on Sunday 10:15 a.m., the team was still stranded in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Pompey in his letter.

He also noted that Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is also upset about the service being provided to SVG. (LC)