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Prime Minister calls for help for region’s travelling public

Prime Minister calls for help for region’s travelling public

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A call has been made by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves for the travelling public of the region to be helped.{{more}}

He made the call at the opening ceremony of the 43rd Meeting of the Special Council on Trade and Economic Development on External Trade (COTED), on May 29 at the National Insurance Services (NIS) conference room.

Last week’s meeting focused primarily on issues relating to air and maritime transport.

The Prime Minister, however, cautioned that such issues were difficult ones and that a quick resolution would not be reached.

It was, however, important, he said, that those responsible for crafting policy to find solutions to the many issues affecting transportation across the region.

“We have to have access; we now have virtual access, but we need to move the goods and that is why we need the planes in the air and the boats on the water,” the Prime Minister said.

Transportation needed to be reliable and reasonably priced, he continued.

According to Gonsalves, it was expected that finding solutions to some of the issues was not going to be easy, but he hoped that the work could be advanced, because there was already work in progress.

Among the items that were down for deliberation, according to Gonsalves, were transportation of goods between the islands across the region, fuel subsidies, coordination between airlines and the feasibility of a single air space within CARICOM.

Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM’s Secretary General, said in his opening remarks that there was no doubt that efficient transportation was of critical importance to the region.

“The social and economic integration cannot be attained without transportation,” La Rocque said.

The core issues, he said, included safety and security, the development of a regulatory environment and the sustainability of air carriers.

In finding solutions, La Rocque said that the meeting would seek to find a realistic process for the collaboration and coordination between airlines in the region, the completion of a text for a new CARICOM service agreement and to identify a strategy for transportation that will address the various issues of adequate transportation he added.(DD)

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