Matters involving the Barbados-based airline Redjet being allowed to fly into Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica are still up in-the-air.
So says Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as the topic of regional air transportation became one of the items on the agenda of day two of formal meetings of the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) being held in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Speaking to members of the media following today’s closed-door business session, Mr. Stuart said that the issue was being treated as "one of urgency".
"We’ve all agreed on that and I expect that we should be able to get this matter resolved as quickly as possible. But, it is not going to be resolved at this conference. It’s going to be resolved after we leave this conference- we’ve been doing the necessary follow-up," he explained.
The Prime Minister lamented: "I do not know that we have made the kind of progress which I’d hoped for, and for the very simple reason that it is clear to me that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is committed to ensuring that the interests of its airline are not undermined. And, the Government of Jamaica, which entered into an agreement with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, does not feel able to renege on any commitments it gave to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, in respect of not undermining the integrity of the relationship between those two countries, insofar as regional air transportation is concerned. That is not another way of saying, let me make it very clear, that the Redjet issue is a dead one – we’re not saying that at all."
He indicated that regional leaders had agreed on a course of action which would involve the governments of Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica. The Prime Minister pointed out, however, that they were still awaiting the support of the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
In light of this, Mr. Stuart told members of the media "the explanation given, of course, was that there is a new Minister of Transport, new Minister of Civil Aviation in Trinidad and Tobago and that Prime Minister [Kamla Persad-Bissessar] could not commit herself to a course of action without discussing the matter both with her Cabinet and with him. But, we agreed on a course of action involving the three governments, and I expect that once the course of action on which we agreed has been properly pursued and the results made known, that there should be no further obstructions in the way of Redjet flying to Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and wherever else."
Heads of Government also focused on agriculture and regional food security in the Caribbean during today’s deliberations.