To Prime Ministers and other Leaders of CARICOM…
Submitted by James C. “Jim” Lynch, Captain, retired
Good day, Ladies and Gentlemen…
I already know that the worst among you will hit the delete key before
you get halfway through this email. But if you do so, feel free to
acknowledge to yourself that you truthfully don’t really give a pinhead
of a damn about your own people, locally or regionally.
In Jamaica, aviation is growing, with one new airline in process and
another (still confidential) about to launch.
But in the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean, including the Bahamas
but especially in the eastern Caribbean, aviation has been stifled,
restricted, actually attacked by the Civil Aviation Authorities and
Departments and bound in red tape to the point where it is almost
non-existent – all the while allowing foreign carriers and even private
pilots with illegal small aircraft to rape the local and regional
carriers into bankruptcy.
And the government-owned airlines continue to operate merrily along on
political expediency, Board bullshit, and hundreds of millions of
hard-earned taxpayer dollars.
— St. Lucia used to have three small airlines. Now it has zero.
— Grenada used to have two airlines. Now it has zero – SVG Air serves
— St. Kitts and Nevis used to have two airlines. Not they have zero.
— Dominica has had one or two airlines on and off. Now it has zero.
— Barbados used to have FOUR airlines. Now it has one.
— Barbados used to have a thriving Flying Club. It still exists, but
most of the time its facilities are a deserted wasteland.
After spending as much as S$30,000 of their own family’s money, newly
trained pilots come back home to face a year or more of red tape,
examinations, significantly more expenses, sheer official nonsense, and
no small amount of bureaucratic contempt – this discouragement in a time
when there is a global pilot shortage.
Is LIAT going to end up advertising for European, Canadian or American
pilots while regional pilots stay home and find work selling TShirts on
The same Authorities have turned a blind eye to non-CARICOM airlines and
even private (non-commercial, uninsured) pilots flying – in AND out –
stealing the traffic small regional carriers (who don’t suck up taxpayer
dollars) used to rely on.
FIRST for instance, business jets based in the USA are called to bring
passengers to the region, and ALSO to pick passengers up here and take
them back. When business jets based in OUR countries are called for a
charter, it takes more than 8 hours to get permission from the USA to
operate the charter – and that is whether the flight is going there or
picking people up to bring back.
By the time the regional company gets that permission, many times the
passengers have called a charter company in the USA, the bizjet has
arrived AND departed, they are already on their way, and the local
charter company is left holding useless permits.
SECOND for instance, there is someone flying a slow single engine piston
aircraft registered in the USA – apparently based in Martinique –
operating commercial charter flights throughout the islands, including
as long as Barbados to Aruba. By law, single engine flight over water
for commercial purposes is ILLEGAL, yet not a soul in authority ever
does anything about it, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED FOR AS LONG
AS 15 YEARS.
I was told action has been taken on this particular offender, but there
are others – the fact is THERE IS NO OVERSIGHT ON THE GROUND.
And the last I heard, all of the regional aviation authorities
REQUIRED US-registered aircraft based in our islands to register
locally. But is it because it has a US registration that the pilot is
somehow untouchable? I guess he might be “touchable” if the legally
required Authority personnel were actually doing their jobs and policing
all of the airports properly. The Americans sure do.
Aviation in Barbados, particularly, is a GLOBAL JOKE. The CAD has been
stripped down to almost NO personnel, and even those have been moved a
mile AWAY from the airport ramp – where they should be on the spot where
they can see what is going on. In Barbados there are not enough
personnel/Inspectors to oversee a small KingAir, yet they accepted a
Boeing 747-400 on the registry. GLOBAL JOKE.
So tell me, where is the oversight on that huge aircraft? Little wonder
the FAA laugh at Barbados when the country says they want Category One
status. Last time they performed an evaluation they said don’t call us
for another ten years – these guys do this for a living, and they know
what they bare talking about. GLOBAL JOKE.
Barbados is not serious, not the Prime Minister, not the Minister
responsible for aviation. CANNOT BE SERIOUS. As one of my former
colleagues would say, “Not ready”. Barbados is not even “ready” for what
they have now, far less competent to provide oversight on a 747. GLOBAL
If one of our regionally based bizjets operates to the USA – including
to the USVI or Puerto Rico – without permission, they would be met by
Customs, Immigration and the Police. There is every chance that the
pilot would be fined, and even possible the aircraft could be
confiscated or impounded.
If a US-based bizjet operates to any of our islands without permission,
they clear Customs and Immigration, pay the landing fees, file a flight
plan, and fly back out. And this is whether they bring passengers in or
take passengers out.
I know you Prime Ministers don’t give a damn about things you don’t
really know about. For years neither you nor your Offices, or your
Ministers – ALL servants of the people – even acknowledge or respond to
emails from your own citizens. Is it not time that you stop destroying
an industry that makes a major contribution to the region? This is the
same industry you made into a “cash cow” and now refuse to roll back?
If all this were not enough, I have been told that the last meeting of
CaribAVia (an affiliate of the US-based National Business Aircraft
Association) in Sint Maarten was flooded with US airline representatives
lobbying for MUCH greater access for US carriers to the eastern
Caribbean islands, including what we call “cabotage”, or inter-island
flights they do not currently have rights for. If this is agreed to by
CARICOM, MASA would have been a hypocritical piece of stink political
crap and we, the people, will know that politicians received millions of
dollars in bribes, ALL of our carriers will disappear, and the
literally billions of US dollars that taxpayers put into LIAT over the
decades has slipped down the drain.
In such circumstances we WILL lose LIAT, Caribbean Airlines, Cayman
Airlines, BahamasAir and all others, government and privately owned.
They will be replaced with US airlines whose executives care nothing for
OUR needs, but in having the monopoly they will soak our citizens like
our politicians’ current cash-cow behaviour could never have imagined or
realised. They will serve the routes that make money, and ignore the
rest of us.
On the subject of new airlines, three years ago (based on four years of
actual data) I created a Business Plan for an intra-Caribbean
pan-regional airline… Surinam to Puerto Vallarta to Bermuda to
Surinam, with no US destinations… using single-aisle Airbus A320
family jets, with over 100 pages of details. Plus 350+ pages of private
ancillary ideas and notes.
I decided to keep the funding in Caribbean hands, so I sought a loan
from every agency I could think of, as well as the Chinese and some
Europeans. Nothing. Nobody was interested, not even Caribbean
“Development Banks”. I guess I did not offer any “grease”, so they
discarded my communications. But most of those people are political
appointees, and it is clearly apparent they are in those positions to
take such advantages.
In my travels, it appears the same “Development Banks” you politicians
set up to help entrepreneurs NOW make it harder for someone to get a
loan to start a business than the commercial banks. And I have
definitely tried, believe me. These “Development Banks” now appear to be
just dumping grounds for your political friends who have no competence
in the matter but draw huge salaries, just like on the LIAT Board.
If it walks like a duck…
And you have set up certain Banks to deal ONLY with governments – so
what Development does the CDB help with? Certainly not entrepreneurs.
They actually take orders from – and lose BIG money – only to our broke
governments whose politicians cannot pay their loans back.
I heard that CARICOM was setting up yet another fund with unused
regional bank money “to help entrepreneurs”. I wrote to Mr. Comissiong
in Barbados, and he responded with enthusiasm. I also wrote to a Ms.
Yearwood at the CARICOM Secretariat and she also responded with
But unfortunately neither one now seems willing or able to respond to
further emails. I wonder what new scam is brewing there and who will be
the new millionaires in the region. Yes, I said it. What is happening
with politicians these days is nothing short of despicable.
Transparent and accountable – don’t make me laugh out loud and fall off
my chair. And I don’t give a rocket-powered damn if you are “not
I now live in Canada – out of reach of anybody’s petty malicious local
retribution – yet I do have a strong desire to make a major contribution
to CARICOM, CSME, intra-regional travel and making a difference in all
of the communities the airline would serve, but since you ALL seem
not to be the slightest bit interested in improving CARICOM, maybe I
should stay the hell away from the entire CARICOM region for the rest of
my life and vacation in California or Hawaii instead. They certainly
would be cheaper to visit – especially not paying your damned greedy
cash-cow taxes and fees which double the air fare or more.
Yes, I have been somewhat insulting here. But just how long ALL of
you Prime Ministers and Ministers think you can keep up this rudeness
and neglect OF YOUR OWN CITIZENS until so many people – other than I –
get totally frustrated with the waste of people, time and money and
throw CARICOM away?
SO FIX DE DAMN TING, NAH?
Thank you so much for your extremely valuable time. And obviously I
don’t expect an acknowledgement or response to this email from ANY of
Best wishes to all of you anyway,
James C. “Jim” Lynch
* Originally from Barbados, West Indies
Sutton West, Ontario
Near Toronto (Eastern Time, same as New York)
416-602-7389 : Mobile
jim.lynch : Skype (email first to coordinate time, please)
Barbados Air Traffic Control – 2 years
Charter pilot – 3 years – TropicAir, Carib Aviation
Airline pilot – 18 years – Air BVI, LIAT (1974) Ltd.
Management training and experience
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