Antigua and Barbuda Government Launches Legal Battle Against Travel Agency Over Steel Orchestra Ticket Issue


The Antigua and Barbuda government is initiating legal proceedings against a travel agency in response to a grave issue that prevented the Hells Gate Steel Orchestra from attending Antigua & Barbuda Day in New York.

The government had entrusted the Antigua and Barbuda Festivals Commission and a local travel agency to arrange accommodations, per diem payments, and secure tickets for the reigning Panorama champions and other Carnival winners for the 2023 celebrations in New York.

However, when the steelpan musicians arrived at the airport, they discovered that no flights had been booked on their behalf.

The government is now seeking legal action to recover the funds invested, emphasizing the importance of rectifying the situation.

Despite the setback, the orchestra will have the opportunity to showcase their talents at the upcoming Miami Carnival.





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  1. Is LITIGATION now going to play a major part in ABLP’S financial sector, just like the HOSPITALITY sector?

    Seems like the ABLP is trying to make litigation matters a big part of Antigua’s economical growth – bwoi, what a bunch of out of control gamblers!

    Look at how much this government love Litigious matters, whether it be at home or abroad?

    Again, I’ve lost count!

    Gaston Browne is GAMBLING with the countries few resources if it all goes wrong. You only have to look at the current – twist and turn – issues with the Russian Alpha Nero super yacht.

    Could this NEW sector now to be included as part of our future financial indexes, like RPI, GDP and the CPI?

    Gaston 🥸 and his cabinet members should inform the financial world about this possible new development, and get it included with the aforementioned indexes, and call this, LGPI:

    Which stands for Litigious Growth Prosecution Index 😁

  2. Why is the government using a travel agency to book tickets in 2023? Please make this make sense. The tickets could have been booked online directly with the airline or better yet, the government should have an account with airlines that fly in and out of Antigua.

    • Totally agree @ Antigua First.
      There must always be a middle man and a kickback.

  3. So the Travel Agency has no name? Who is being protected? What legal action? This is fraud? Have the Police been informed? Is CID investigating? Really the media should not be publishing this type of half-baked crap unless they get the whole and proper story and not a PR piece to give the impression that something is being done and then nothing else is heard.

  4. Nothing will be come of this. We are now hearing of Miami carnival which makes more sense, since this is the carnival where A&B is highly showcase and the tourism department and festival heads and even the band and it’s members knows this, in Miami they are invited to play all over and most importantly in the big parade on Sunday where A&B and it’s musical talents is listened to, shown to, and jam to by the whole world.
    The question is did our Government put up the funds to accommodate the Champs both in New York and then in Miami, or did they leave it up to this unknown Travel agency to work out and booked the best deal?
    Daryl screwed up and from reading this Hellsgate and it’s management screwed up also, cause no way am sending a bus full of players and instruments to an airport before confirming reservation, so as I said before Miami coming up which is the real deal and that’s where it ends, so stop trying to blame agency.

  5. @Antigua First .

    A reliable IATA appointed Travel Agent would be the first or second choice for a large number of passengers.
    Other choice would be with the Airline directly.
    Online do it yourself for so many passengers is going to get you in to trouble .
    The logistics required to complete the task are difficult.

    Note the key words though “IATA appointed” and “Reliable” .
    IATA appointed would indicate that they should have staff who know what they are doing.
    Reliable includes the resources to continuously be able pay the Airlines for tickets sold .
    Th payment cycle for our area is 10 day after the end of each “weekly” sales period .
    Of course constant dealings with Government or Government agencies and other customers who are “Slow pay” or “No pay” can bring that Travel Agency to the point were they cannot pay the Airlines for what they have sold. (That is another chapter in itself)
    If this Travel Agent is an IATA appointed one it would appear that they could be facing some financial issues . General scamming would not normally be on their menu
    If they are not an IATA appointed Agency then the sky is the limit for issues .

  6. Here goes this messy Government again 😞. Everything they touch just falls to pieces and crumbles. They can’t even get sending off their representatives right.

    Litigation, really? They shouldn’t be in this position in the first place. Imagine if it was Gatson Browne who got stood up on one of his many trips, how embarrassing would he feel.

    Look after your people with better care Antigua Government…you’re bringing more embarrassment to the country and it’s people.
    You’ll just botch everything you’ll touch just so,my goodness man. Smdh.

  7. This just for show.
    Who is the travel agent?
    Who is the lawyer who has written to the travel agent?
    And is the ministry to organize per diem,not the travel agent.
    Get your story straight. All Antiguans are not fools

  8. What I have come to realize (it’s actually not a recent realization), is that most persons/entities that comment on these articles/news items/editorial/letters-to-the-editor etc., pieces, seem uninterested in anything except to curse the ruling administration, whichever one it is, or equally to support it, and the end result is the commentators just end up ‘verbally abusing’ one another for political parties/politicians, etc.
    Consequently, assessing and/or addressing the issue at hand, gets totally lost in the fray.
    IMO, there are several aspects, which this ‘news item’ fails to address, and so many (I hope) of us have far more questions/concerns, than answers.
    Firstly, the GOAB does have a right, actually a responsibility, to seek legal redress in this matter if all other attempts at resolution have been exhausted without recourse; particularly so, if public funds have been expended for the occasion.
    If they didn’t do anything, people would be saying, “there’s a cover up”, “they’re protecting their friends and comrades”, “how come we’re not hearing anything about such and such”. Oh right, it is actually still being said! 🙄
    Be that as it may, here are some concerns/questions I have which the news items failed to address, or thoughts which were logically prompted as a result of the the article.
    1. EXACTLY when, as in time frame, were these plans set in motion? When (date or time of year), and how often, does this Antigua & Barbuda Day in New York take place?
    Yh I know Carnival just ended in early August so we could not have known Hellsgate would win, yada-yada-yada. But hear me out! Antigua’s Carnival is an annual event! If the New York event is an annual event, and also the Miami event, especially as it seems to follow so soon after our Carnival, it is my considered opinion that these are plans which, ought to and can, be made well in advance – like a 3 or 5-year plan – the winners don’t need to be known: it can be general planning and filling in specificities once our Carnival wraps up. Knowing that it’s expected/required that winners of our various Carnival events attend these overseas events, also gives these organizations time to ensure that certain things are in place (like passports and visas for their members), in case they emerge victorious in their event. By the time the winners are known, with much of the ground-work having been laid, then plans are finalized and moneys paid. I’m going to leave that there – because I’m not a consultant and anyway…

    2. The Festival COMMISSION (FC) is a fully staffed (hopefully) government department. They are on the job year-round, planning festivals and festivities and Antigua & Barbuda representations at showcase events overseas – at least I hope so! 🤔 DOES THE FC NOT HAVE A SUBCOMMITTEE OR SIMILAR TEAM THAT SPECIFICALLY HANDLES/CO-ORDINATES TRAVEL/ACCOMMODATION/LOGISTICS?

    3. Didn’t the Management of Hellsgate request specifics that normally accompany traveling – itineraries, confirmation codes, check-in times, etc.?
    Haven’t they ever heard of the phrase, “Trust, but verify!”?

    I could go on, but I am going to stop here, because other people want to chime in. Somebody or bodies dropped the ball, and I feel certain that this legal thing is only one fraction of the issue!
    This needs a more in depth probe!
    Where are the government auditors I used to hear so much about before a certain Junior Finance Minister was ‘retired’? 🤔

    But I would really like to know if the NY event being referenced is part of the Labor Day celebrations in NY… Once upon a time it was called Labor Day in Brooklyn… Very popular event where several Antiguan artistes made their names internationally – Mighty Swallow, Burning Flames, readily comes to mind.
    I noticed one comment which seems to decry the NY event in comparison to the Miami event… I never even heard of the Miami event sorry – guess I’m not into these things.
    But common sense allows me to have an opinion on carnival and related matters, whether or not it’s my thing!

  9. Looking at some previous new items :

    “Regrettably, it has come to our attention that despite payments made to secure flights for our pannists, the contracted travel agency failed to fulfill their obligations as agreed upon. Subsequent investigations revealed that this local travel agency is facing allegations of fraud from several other customers.”

    “REAL NEWS – After being embarrassed at the airport, some residents are complaining quietly that they were gypped by a local travel agency.”

    “In the past two weeks, several persons have been forced to contact the Police as their efforts to reach the agency through which they purchased airline tickets were being thwarted.”

  10. Cannot wait for nothing but the truth in this matter.Then and only then,would we know for sure who are the liars.

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