Opposition Senator Dr Jerome Walcott has questioned what is being done by the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that Barbados attains Category 1 status as set down by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Speaking in the Senate during debate on the Civil Aviation (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Walcott noted that ICAO had in place a category system, which was implemented in conjunction with the International Aviation Safety Assessment.
Based on that system, ICAO determines which countries meet its standards and which do not.
He said it was clear in the tables published by ICAO, that Category 1 countries meet ICAO standards, while Category 2 countries do not.
The Opposition Senator pointed out that the most recent figures for 2015 show that the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Antigua and Trinidad and Tobago have Category 1 status, while Barbados is listed as a Category 2 country.
While acknowledging reports of work being done to upgrade the current status, Walcott sought details from Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner.
However, in a hard-hitting response, Government Senator Jeptor Ince, charged that as far back as 2005 when the country was awash with funds, nothing was done by the former Barbados Labour Party administration to ensure that the country achieved Category 1 status.
Ince contended that if the BLP had dealt with Barbados’ status in 2005, the ruling Democratic Labour Party administration would not be confronted with the issue in 2016.
“Those questions were asked back in 2005 when the BLP had all of the money, all of the resources to deal with it and nothing was done to address the issue.
“There were worse conditions for officers at the Grantley Adams International Airport and now you are going to hear questions being asked,” he charged, claiming, “It was the BLP that allowed the horse to bolt from the stables and now the DLP is making all of the attempts to close the stable doors.
In a direct attack on Dr Walcott, he also said: “The Senator who is asking the questions sat in a critical role in a Government that could have dealt with this matter.”
Ince contended that the Freundel Stuart administration was dealing with the situation with the appointment of retired pilot, Captain Keith Robertson as a consultant to the Civil Aviation Authority.
Ince gave Barbadians the assurance that with the appointment of Robertson and the amendments to the civil aviation laws, Barbados will achieve Category 1 status under the DLP administration. (NC)