The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) wants a swift resolution to the squatting village on the outskirts of the Grantley Adams International Airport.
However, according to a key spokesperson for the party, Government does not yet appear serious about addressing the village at Rock Hall, St. Philip, which reportedly poses a danger to aircraft.
PdP spokesman on tourism and international transport, Scott Weatherhead was weighing in on the situation during a press conference Thursday where he urged Government not to be complacent.
The local businessman echoed the sentiments expressed by aviation officials and other commentators about the danger to life and property in the event of an accident and announced that the PdP intended to meet with squatters to discuss their challenges.
“We don’t feel that is being properly managed and handled,” Weatherhead told the press conference.
“If we ever have an aircraft landing in the direction of the squatters and it has a hydraulic failure, it can cause loss of property and loss of life. So this is something, which places people’s lives at risk, everyday this goes unresolved. So Government must take a very serious approach to dealing with it.”
While stressing any response must be done carefully and respectfully, he said this must be balanced with aviation concerns.
Weatherhead warned: “…and if we don’t do this quickly, we are going to end up with a situation where the FAA [Federal Aviation Authority] says because of security hazards and issues, aircraft can’t operate here anymore.”
“If you want to deal with it quickly, meetings should be happening everyday all now. I’m not saying that Government isn’t doing so, but if you are doing so, why isn’t the press covering the meetings between the minister and the residents. Why isn’t the press covering discussions and town hall meetings where residents are invited to discuss the issue? Why aren’t we hearing that proposals have been put on both sides?” he asked.
“I am not seeing any of that, so that tells me that it appears there isn’t a lot happening and if it is, it is being done at the dead of night in secrecy.”
The PdP is certainly discussing the squatters’ plight internally and will address the country on its plans after meeting with residents,”.
“It’s not just going to be that what Government says goes, but they need all the facts outlined and we must sit down and listen to their issues, their views and their needs, because everyone wants to just live peaceably in this country.
“We feel dialogue is very important and coming to a solution that benefits the airport, civil aviation and the residents has to happen…and we will certainly be meeting with residents at some point to discuss their issues and outline what we see as the issues with respect to safety,” promised Weatherhead.