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Jamaican reggae artiste stranded by LIAT sick out

Jamaican  reggae artiste stranded by LIAT sick out

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The industrial action called by LIAT pilots has had almost crippling effect on air travel across the region as many passengers were left stranded this week.{{more}}

One such passenger was veteran Jamaican Reggae entertainer Junior Reid, who up to Wednesday, December 7, accompanied by members of his management and band, was trying to get a flight out of St Vincent.

Last Friday, December 2, he performed alongside another veteran entertainer, Barrington Levy at the Victoria Park.

According to Reid, he first got word of the situation when he arrived at the E.T Joshua Airport on Tuesday.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that he immediately inquired about who was going to take responsibility for accommodations, but was told by local LIAT agents that the airline was not responsible.

Reid said that he and his entourage were expected to make their way to Trinidad to connect with another flight to Suriname, where he was scheduled to perform at another show.

“We have other shows in French Guiana, Suriname…these promoters spend a lot of money and if you don’t get there on time they can sue us,” the entertainer told SEARCHLIGHT.

Another member of Reid’s entourage said that they had been at the airport for the entire day on Tuesday, and that they had arrived at the airport early Wednesday.

He further explained that the team had to foot the bill for all further expenses incurred.

These included hotel, meals and transportation.

“And today we come and we still can’t get out,” he said, adding that they were required to purchase new tickets on Tuesday, but were later informed that the chartered flight would be going to Barbados instead.

This meant that in addition to the money lost by the team in missing their connecting flight to Suriname, they would now be required to purchase new tickets, Reid said.

Some members of the group later stormed the agent’s office and expressed their frustration before police were summoned to quell the situation.

Maureen Walker of the One Blood Junior Reid Management team told SEARCHLIGHT that it did not make sense for them to have to go to Barbados to make their way down to Trinidad.

“We have been spending, spending, spending. We had to spend money for days as we were stranded here and will have to spend again if we make our way to Barbados. It’s going to cost more on top what has already been spent,” Walker explained.

“We are on tour and have been threatened with legal action if we don’t show and LIAT wants to brush their hands off the situation,” she continued.

She said the situation, particularly the attitude by local management, was totally unacceptable.

“That is total, total disrespect for their passengers. And this is the only airline, and at the end of it you rely on Tourism. If you are running an airline as shabby as this, how the hell are you going to get any tourists to come here?” Walker questioned. (DD)

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