(Barbados TODAY Editorial) — In one of his first public engagements since being appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr Kevin Greenidge shone a spotlight on the bothersome question of regional air travel.
The occasion was the Central Bank’s public engagement discussion known as the Caribbean Economic Forum, staged on Wednesday and broadcast across the region and through the Central Bank’s various social channels.
The programme seeks to draw attention to major topical socio-economic issues and to raise the level of public awareness among Caribbean people of the matters that impact their daily lives.
The Governor was joined by regional business executive Gervase Warner, who heads the Massy Group and is chair of the CARICOM Private Sector Organisation, as well as Geneva Oliverie of the Barbados-based Caribbean Policy Development Centre.
Dr Greenidge, who now has the weight of the country’s lead financial institution on his shoulders, operates from the advantage of being one of the leading advisers to the administration during a very crucial period.
He has had a bird’s eye view of all the critical areas of the economy and their interrelatedness.
And so, if Governor Greenidge has identified the matter of intra-regional travel as a priority area requiring immediate attention, then we have no choice but to agree with him.
As he described it, intraregional travel “is something we cannot ignore much longer”. Yes Governor, we should never ignore the value of having a reliable, effective, reasonably priced, accessible, and fast form of travel for business, leisure and the movement of goods.
According to Dr Greenidge’s presentation at the forum, “When you look at the numbers, that’s one area in which we have been declining over time; less travelling among ourselves.”
He added: “I agree that there is an urgent need to find a solution to the intra regional travel [challenge] and what I think we need to do is put our heads together and become creative from possibilities of express ferries along the coastlines, [and] maybe sub-regional travel.”
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This is shallow as they come. Let’s face no government who knows the obvious is prepared to do what is needed to deal with costs etc regarding international travel. On a ticket to St Kitts BA is getting US$54.00 on a sector. On that same sector Antigua is getting US$75.00 as an airport facility fee. So you all see how the thing adds up. All these forums about travel is just the old boys meeting and having a good time at our expenses. All lip service!!!!
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