Why is Barbados shirking its CARICOM duties in the middle of the REDjet & CLICO Controversies? Microcosm can be found at Commerce level!

What is commerce?

com·merce (kmrs)n.1. The buying and selling of goods, especially on a large scale, as between cities or nations. See Synonyms at business.

What is finance?

fi·nance (f-nns, f-, fnns)n.1. The science of the management of money and other assets.2. The management of money, banking, investments, and credit.3. finances Monetary resources; funds, especially those of a government or corporate body.4. The supplying of funds or capital.

So the definition of Tourism is what?

tourism [?t??r?z?m]n(Business / Commerce) tourist travel and the services connected with it, esp when regarded as an industry

Now it could just be me, but do the three aspects peculiar to any Caribbean territory’s growth, have any form of SIMILARITY to each other? Would their jurisdictions overlap? If so, often or seldom?

I ask that since I saw Senator Haynesley Benn last night and wanted clarification on matters concerning both CLICO and REDjet, yet he point-blank refused to give any form of statement saying he is Commerce and not either Finance or Tourism and not overstepping into other Ministries? I was not singled out for this mimicry of the Artful Dodger, he also did the avoidance with another media house who confided to me the only reason they attended was to get his remarks on one or both Hot Button situations too!

Probably after this article, the good Senator will permanently withdraw speech from me? LOL!

If anyone doubts the encounter, I still have the audio (full of crowd noises, not broadcast quality but there if you strain or filter long enough) which was recording based on the hope Benn would say “YES,” but instead he chose to pull a Usain and bolt! This is fairly true, since he kept launching a peripheral eye at me during the cocktails afterwards, he inhaled two kebabs and gulped one drink then bade his farewells…

This is just a tiny portion of those who want REDjet to happen - the sad reality is that Barbados jobs are at stake, doesn't the DLP want to see Unemployment reduced? Speak out, nuh!

This has been rather similar to how Freundel Stuart seems unwilling to look at CLICO since Leroy Parris, the former CEO of the stricken Insurance company is the PM’s ‘buddy‘ and ‘client‘ – yet if you examine this current release from the Barbados Investors & Policyholders Association (BIPA) you can locate Tourism in that Trinidad executives, however briefly, visited here and when June Fowler headed for Port Of Spain/POS there was reciprocity, while Finance and Commerce can be discerned from the balance of the statement;-

Mr. Peter Permell, Chairman of the CLICO Policyholders Group in Trinidad and Tobago, will be coming to Barbados to address the next meeting of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA), which is still unincorporated. He will brief the local group on the latest developments in Trinidad and Tobago that could impact them.

This visit is part of the on-going cooperation between the two groups. BIPA Chairman, Mrs. June Fowler, held talks with her counterpart in Port of Spain last month, and addressed a meeting of the CLICO Policyholders Group there. At that time, the two groups expressed solidarity and made a commitment to continue sharing information.

Among the other items on the agenda for the BIPA general meeting, Mrs. Fowler and other members of the BIPA committee will also update members on their meeting with the Judicial Manager for CLICO, and plans to launch the BIPA website before month-end.

BIPA is still awaiting approval from the Ministry of Finance on the official incorporation of the non-profit group, and the members will be updated on this process. There will also be news for all British American Insurance Company Limited (BAICO) policyholders regarding the BAICO Judicial Manager’s report, which has been submitted to the Financial Services Commission.

The BIPA meeting will be open to current members and eligible potential members only, since the group’s legal counsel will be present to explain the legal strategy options to be adopted. It will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at the Anne Johnson Auditorium of the St. Gabriel’s School in Collymore Rock, St. Michael.

If Trinis are not accepting silence from either Manning or Persad-Bissessar on CLICO, then why should we?

However, this is Ultra Vires for Senator Benn? Well he should not choose to be involved in Politics then, sometimes the level of comfort in Gubernatorial scrutinies makes imitating a lobster tossed in boiling water seem preferable than have one’s private practices for all & sundry to adjudicate, eh?

You can’t even fly away from the critique Senator, since Caribbean Aviation in chaos! Caribbean Airlines and LIAT only now offering flights at levels they should have been ages ago yet they only allowed themselves the luxury of treating consumers fairly when having their bluff called by REDjet who has waited FIVE years to get up and running!

REDjet is extremely disappointed for its passengers in Trinidad and Jamaica as the airline has yet to receive word from the two countries as to when operations can begin. Passengers are still suffering from protectionism in the homes of two of the regional state owned monopolies.

Despite assurances after a meeting in the Ministry of Work and Transport in Trinidad & Tobago, REDjet has had no response as promised and is in the dark as to the status of our operations there.

As a designated airline of Barbados, a country that for decades has provided route rights to Caribbean Airlines, BWIA and Air Jamaica, no excuse can be given for defending the interests of a monopoly airline and denying consumers competition and lower fares. After working for over a year in Trinidad & Tobago REDjet was advised in writing on the 20th December that we would be granted commercial licences but this promise has not been delivered.

REDjet believes that the delay is a disgrace for consumers but understands why it is in the interests of other airlines to keep competition out. Flights to Jamaica and Guyana have been the more profitable in the region because airlines have been able to charge high fares. REDjet, by offering competition, ensures that passengers will benefit from a choice of who they fly with and while this may affect other airlines, it is critical so that passengers are stopped from being ripped off. REDjet’s fares are over 60% cheaper than current market prices including baggage and taxes. REDjet’s first passengers have been thrilled with the service and value of their flights and we remain committed to delivering these to consumers in Trinidad too.

REDjet calls on the senior statesmen from Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados to step and in cut through the protectionism and red tape being used to prevent fair competition and ensure international agreements are honored for taxpayers and consumers.

If CAL has their way, this is the only time you would see the two companies side by side...

With a statement like that and after Robbie Burns making an all too brief appearance on TT radio station 195.5 FM yesterday at 9:45 am, it is no surprise to learn that legal action will not be ruled out according to the Trinidad Express;-

Low fares airline REDjet said yesterday it will pursue legal action against the Trinidad and Tobago Government if the State does not honour agreements between Caricom countries over aviation rights.

Robbie Burns, business development manager at REDjet said, “Right now we are trying to ascertain if the Government is willing to honour its agreements which make provisions for the entry of a Barbadian carrier. If we see that their intention is to not honour these agreements then we will be forced to pursue legal action to enter the market.

We are not prepared to wait indefinitely. We do not want to go the legal route because that is a very lengthy process and we are hoping that someone will step up to resolve the issue.”

With no word from Government officials or the regulatory authority about the status of its application to begin operations in Trinidad, REDjet has been forced to cancel more flights.

Is this not a matter where Finance, Commerce and Tourism juxtapose rather than bifurcate? Yet even so the Commerce Minister of Barbados refuses to make a comment on not one but two matters which affect not only Barbados but the whole region, despite being appealed by BIPA and REDjet executives itself! One could even go so far as the Barbados employees of REDjet whose livelihood is at stake!

{Minister Benn is seated while Ian Kenyon addresses participants at a recent debriefing} This is not the first time Haynesley Benn dodged CLICO, he did it in October last year, if he cannot speak to such matters maybe his portfolio needs some heavy revising?

Senator Benn, I used to admire your proficiency in Agriculture and see you expand your capabilities as Marketing Manager for DaCosta Manning’s, but when your advice and counsel is truly needed? You have failed dismally! This is despite a plea for Fair Trading (of which Barbados allegedly has such a Commission) and for not one or a few, but all CARICOM statesmen to come forward and open the skies…

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