KINGSTON — Opposition spokesman on Tourism Edmund Bartlett has said Jamaica’s enormous strength in airlift security is being threatened and requires swift action by the Government to reverse any negative impact on the sector.
Yesterday, Bartlett urged Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, to engage his Trinidadian counterpart to work out a suitable agreement to shore up the country’s air security.
His concerns come against the background of the reduction of arrivals out of Caribbean markets into Jamaica. He has also pointed to a decline in the activities of Caribbean Airline Limited out of the United States.
“CAL is, therefore, a significant part of Jamaica’s and the Caribbean’s airlift security, and so we are concerned by recent announcements that there is significant reduction in flights from North America and the Caribbean,” Bartlett told his parliamentary colleagues during his contribution to the Budget Debate.
Bartlett, a former tourism minister, said in 2012, CAL accounted for nearly 50 per cent of arrivals at the Norman Manley International Airport and 10 per cent of arrivals at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.
He noted that the reduction in CAL flights to Jamaica would result in unemployment locally, significant loss of income at NMIA and inconvenience to the Diaspora and informal commercial importers.
With Jamaica’s 16 per cent shares in CAL, Bartlett reasoned that the country had a voice in the decision-making process.
“We note that a new board will soon be constituted. We hope that this signals that it is not too late to salvage things and retrieve that which we once enjoyed,” the opposition spokesman added. (Gleaner)