Antigua and Barbuda Appeals for cheaper intra-regional travel

Antigua PM eyes seamless shift as LIAT 1974 hands over to LIAT 2020

JAMAICA OBSERVER: Antigua and Barbuda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chet Greene has called on Caricom member states to address the issue of cheaper intra-regional travel, arguing that with shared language and cultures the region should be “closer” than it is now.

Greene, the outgoing chair of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), made the appeal at the opening ceremony of the 26th meeting of COFCOR at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday morning.

“Unlike other institutions such as the European Union, we are not landlocked but separated by sea. The pandemic has further exacerbated the issue of affordable regional transportation. In order to achieve Caricom’s pillars of regional integration, it is necessary for us to address this issue of regional travel with the urgency that is required,” Greene argued.

He said that respective member states, along with the secretariat, need to devise workable plans and solutions to provide affordable air and maritime travel.

“This requires lobbying efforts through the ministries of foreign affairs and overseas missions, friendly nations for developmental assistance,” Greene said.

He also encouraged the secretariat to further create an environment that will foster stronger community engagement through improved internal relations.

“Through this, we will have a much better Caribbean Community where our people can express their talents and innovative capabilities to further lend to regional development,” he noted.

Greene said it was especially important for the excellent work of Caricom to be echoed across the region and throughout the globe, given that it is about to celebrate 50 years as an organisation and is the oldest surviving institution in the hemisphere, adding, “there are still areas which we must continuously address such as community relations”.

Jamaica assumed chairmanship of COFCOR in May this year and will remain in the seat for a year.

As part of the responsibilities of the chairmanship, the 26th COFCOR meeting is being hosted May 16 to 17 and will be followed by the 11th meeting of the United Kingdom-Caribbean Forum on May 18, and the Inaugural Jamaica/UK Strategic Dialogue on May 19.

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  1. Growing up I’ve always heard my parents and grand parents say time and time again Too Late Shall Be The Cry. And I am seeing it now. As far back as in the late 80’s to early to mid 90’s, three major Caribbean Airline companies dominated the skies of the Caribbean. As I recall American Airlines wanted to make Antigua a secondary hun in collaboration with it’s service in Puerto Rico. That venture never came to fruition,for what ever reason. With LIAT, BWIA, and Air Jamaica all facing financial hardship at the time no one saw it fit to consider a merger between all three to best serve the people of Caricom. The problem was probably if such venture was to come about was where the headquarters would be with Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and even Antigua would all be vying for such. Even as I am writing this I cannot truly say which country would best fit such. Now to the present LIAT in on the verge of becoming a non-existent entity, with 70% of it’s ownership about to be a acquired by a questionable Nigerian Airline. Cannot the shareholders of LiAT along with Caribbean Airlines come together and create a truly one Caribbean Airline that would serve the needs of the people of Caricom with competitive airfares. I am appealing to the present leaders of the prospective Caricom countries to look into your own back yard for the treasures that lay within before you go look into someone else’s front yard. And let’s not make the saying a reality that Too late Shall Be The Cry.

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