Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir has blasted the former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration for its delinquency in addressing the pressing needs of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
Speaking during debate on the Civil Aviation Bill 2022 in Parliament on Tuesday, he described the lack of attention paid to the island’s lone airport under the DLP’s watch as “shameful”.
“I am particularly disappointed in the fact that since 2009 under the previous DLP administration, ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organisation] findings indicated that we were below the 80 per cent mark and that we would find ourselves in 2022 having a conversation that should have taken place immediately following that audit,” he said.
“I add further to my disappointment that we as a nation would continue to rely on the services of our brothers and sisters in Trinidad and Tobago to carry out for us a function in aviation that Barbados really ought to have had in place many decades ago.
“I do recall in our existence we had an airline called Caribbean Airways and, therefore, I believe we were duty bound then to make sure that we met the requirements of an ICAO audit in order for us to be able to be considered a Category 1 airport facility,” Weir added.
He said Barbados had demonstrated that it was world-class in several areas and there was no reason the GAIA could not be transformed into a world-class facility, similar to how Abu Dhabi had made the leap.
“You can understand my disappointment and the great hurt that I feel when you look at the audit that took place in 2009 and an entire Government failed to address the issues required to make us a Category 1 airport. It is shameful,” he contended.
“….I am tremendously disappointed that a Minister of Tourism and International Transport would look at an audit report and fail to address something as simple as primary aviation legislation.” (RB)