PM Douglas says Government remains committed to REDjet service as reports of Bridgetown withdrawing permission for Barbados-St. Lucia route surfaces
REDjet landing a chartered flight into St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport recently (Keeth France photo)
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, NOVEMBER 15TH 2011 (CUOPM) – Although there has been no direct negotiations with the low cost Caribbean air carrier REDjet recently, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, said his government remains committed to bring to its citizens and residents, more direct, affordable and reliable air transportation between the twin-island federation and other countries.
Dr. Douglas during the recent CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in St. Kitts last July, Government had indicated to the owners of REDjet that the Federation stands ready for further discussions with REDjet with regard to flying in and out of St. Kitts and the airline was presently holding talks with the authorities in Barbados on routes.
“I am hoping that after these discussions with Barbados are finalised we would be in a position to start our own negotiations with REDjet,” Prime said to a caller during his weekly live radio call in programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday .
“We had looked favourably at a route with REDjet operating Barbados-St. Kitts and Nevis-St. Maarten-Barbados-Guyana. I am still very hopeful that very shortly we would be able to provide a service to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” Prime Minister Douglas said.
He pointed out that in his capacity as chairman of the Caribbean Heads of Government he had the opportunity during the Summit in St. Kitts in July to “deal with this matter once and for all, bringing to the attention of our colleagues that REDjet needed to have a stake in the Caribbean region and so the difficulties that were being experienced between Jamaica and REDjet and Trinidad and Tobago and REDjet were resolved shortly after the meeting in St. Kitts.”
Earlier this week, news reports from Bridgetown said REDjet was in discussion with the Government of Barbados to address the delay in approval for new routes and chief executive officer Ian Burns has insisted that the company “is not moving out” of Barbados over the dispute.
Burns made that position clear as REDjet awaits permission from the Barbados Government to operate the St Maarten, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada and St Kitts routes, even though the carrier has already received licences from those governments.
Last month, REDjet called on Government to deliver promised political support for its routes.
Asked if the airline has been able to get that commitment, Burns told the Weekend Nation discussions were ongoing.