The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is very concerned about continued misinformation coming from Tourism Minister – Allen Chastanet – about the status of CARICOM Airways to operate commercially in the OECS. Like many of his previous goofs, Mr. Chastanet's bold-face disregard for the truth is the source of persistent embarrassment for the citizens of this country. Up to Monday of this week, Minister Chastanet was on radio and television touting CARICOM Airways as a saviour of Saint Lucia's tourism industry. The clear impression being conveyed was that CARICOM Airways has overcome its licensing issues with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA).
The Labour Party went on to say that in a March 4, 2011 article in the Antigua Observer Newspaper titled: "Maginley Clears the Air on CARICOM Airways" by Myria Hart, tells a totally different story. In the story, Antigua & Barbuda's Minister of Civil Aviation John Maginley, is quoted as saying that correspondence from ECCAA clearly indicates that the airline has NOT been granted permission to fly in the OECS.
The Antigua Observer reported: "The Minister has supplied copies of letters from ECCAA to Allen M. Chastanet, Minister of Civil Aviation in Saint Lucia. In the letters, ECCAA makes it clear that CARICOM Airways DOES NOT have permission to fly in the OECS." The paper goes on to state that it received fax copies of two letters dated February 17 and 25, 2011 to Minister Chastanet, and quoted the February 25, letter warning Mr. Chastanet thus: "We therefore must reiterate that our letter to you
dated 17th February 2011 CANNOT AND MUST NOT be interpreted as a permit, authorization, licence or dispensation from any requirement granted directly or indirectly to CARICOM Airways to provide commercial air transportation in the OECS." It goes on to advise: "It may be prudent for CARICOM Airways to desist from any type of operations until it meets the requirements for and is issued with an Air Operator Certificate by our office."
The Labour Party also states that in light of these revelations, the Saint Lucia Labour Party calls upon Minister Chastanet, and indeed Attorney General, Doddy Francis to explain why their public pronouncements on this matter continue to differ so significantly with those of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority, and Ministers in Antigua and St. Vincent. The Saint Lucia Labour Party once again calls on Prime Minister Stephenson King to put an end to the reckless and embarrassing behaviour of Senator Chastanet.