Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (FP)

As far as Barbados is concerned there are no safety issues with respect to the national carrier Redjet.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made this clear today in response to allegations that the airline was not being allowed to fly into Trinidad and Tobago because it had not met certain safety regulations. He was speaking to reporters at the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government being held in Basseterre, St. Kitts.

In a strongly worded retort, Mr. Stuart said: "We in Barbados certified Redjet as safe. We are being second guessed on that. Other people certified their aircraft as safe and we don’t second guess them. I made that point in the [Heads of Government] meeting. Bu, if this is the way these issues are going to be handled-[then] I only want to know the rules- I just want to know how people are playing the game and I can play the game as well as they can play it."

In addition, the Prime Minister stressed that Redjet had been flying to Guyana without any complaint from any quarters in that jurisdiction. "I haven’t heard anybody [in Guyana] complain about Redjet. I know that at a meeting in Trinidad of Ministers of Civil Aviation, the issue was raised about the security of Redjet, and I think that my Minister of International Transport was shown photographs which were not certified. So, they could have been photographs of any airplane in the Caribbean, or from elsewhere, and he was told that these had to do with Redjet.

"He asked to have them certified, that request was refused, according to what they told me, and the next thing we knew was that they were on the internet and the smear campaign against Redjet continued," he noted.

Mr. Stuart made it clear that he would continue to defend the interests of the country on the issue. "I’ll say this- I do not intend that Barbados should be in the position of any mortician fighting over a corpse called the regional integration movement. I know what happened with the West Indies Federation; I know who the morticians were … Barbados has always stoutly defended the regional integration movement and has been a leader and that will continue under my leadership," he stressed.

The summit of regional leaders ends tomorrow with the ceremonial signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) establishing the Caribbean Public Health Agency.


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