Cool this angry talk over REDjet


THE CARICOM  SUMMIT in Basseterre was ending yesterday amid much unfortunate angry words and tension over an issue that cries out for sober, matured consideration – official permission for REDjet airline to operate commercial flights  into and from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
It would be a surprise should the 32nd annual conference of the Community’s leaders conclude with an agreement while issues remain unresolved for further bilateral/multilateral meetings, involving Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica and not unrelated either to the involvement of Air Jamaica as a merged partner with state-owned Caribbean Airline (CAL).
It would be a pity if it is not quickly realised that unless there is a genuine effort on the part of the trio of concerned parties in Bridgetown, Port-of-Spain and Kingston, to deviate from tension-filled, tit-for-tat politicking, more than REDjet could fall victim in the vital area of regional transport.
This observation is made  in view of the already emerging confusion, if not unnecessary distortion, by those who seek to link the REDjet controversy with the new discussion raised at the Basseterre summit by Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, over the need for a fast-ferry service link between Trinidad and Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean countries (Barbados and those “of the OECS sub-region).
At present, while success in REDjet’s quest for permission to begin flights into Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, could prove a commercial challenge to regional airline LIAT, the introduction of a modern, ferry link between the Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago could be challenging also for all regional airlines as regular commuters exercise their choice between sea and air transport.
It would be wrong for this proposed project to be  viewed as a Trinidad and Tobago venture instead of what is clearly envisaged – a regional ferry service project.    
There are prevailing questions about the ownership of REDjet but that has not surfaced as a major issue. The bone of contention seems to focus more on the very sensitive matter of “safety” of aircraft to be operated by the airline. Barbados, naturally, is upset over the implicit suggestion that its very experienced aviation authority would have given REDjet clearance to operate commercial flights without being satisfied on the safety criteria.
We, therefore, urge that since negotiations are still continuing over REDjet’s operations out of Barbados with other CARICOM partner states, that maturity in public comments trumps emotional outbursts – all around. Let there be a cooling of tempers in preference for focused attention on the urgent need for serious improvement in regional air and sea transport. 


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