An Elusive Category 1 Designation

Lisa Cummins, Former Minister of International Transport

Last year then Minister of Tourism and International Transport Lisa Cummins shared with the country significant changes (a new Civil Aviation Bill) were in the pipeline to transform the local aviation industry in Barbados.

Off interest from the following Government of Barbados release:

Other works in the pipeline with regards to civil aviation include the Barbados Civil Aviation Department building on the creation of the Civil Aviation Authority and all the regulatory work that would be central to that which will ultimately pave the way for Category One Status for the Grantley Adams International Airport.  An international consulting team has been contracted to help with achieving that status – GIS

Despite local talking heads perennially positioning Barbados as a major regional hub for airlines in the southern region with the goal to support flights to major destination, Barbados’ Category 2 “rating puts restrictions on the national airlines of the countries, such as a freeze on the number of aircraft operated and route expansions into the US”. It begs the question why Barbados has never committed to securing a CAT 1 designation to join Trinidad, Suriname and OECS countries. Another example of the OECS sub region – members of Caricom – showing the others the way.

The blogmaster admits this is a highly technical subject but from cursory research two perquisites are – commitment by the government and making adequate resources available. Accepting there is always heavy demand on national resources and allocation must be prioritised, one has to assume given the goal to make Barbados a hub player we continue to struggle with implementation. To quote then Minister of International Transport Cummins,

Barbados must position itself to completely transition also into a regional hub for international carriers with interests in both cargo and passengers and that involves an extensive body of work which is under way at all levels locally, regionally and internationally.” You will recall Cummins was subsequently shuffled to another ministry. Why must citizens always have to be searching for updates from those elected to serve to hold politicians accountable for grandiose promises?

The following report –Is Caricom aviation safety about to take backward step?
posted in Trinidad Newsday dated 09 July 2023 is food for thought against the dithering by Barbados over the years to enhance it CAT 2 designation.

The majority of countries in the region are dependent on tourism, does it make sense for us to collaborate to have a single model for airline travel to benefit from long and short routes? Instead, we have a number of airlines too many to list struggling financially. We prefer to subsidize foreign interest and fritter away scare resources.

The following article highlights the restructuring or closure of Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS), the aviation organ of Caricom is an example of the lack of vision and inefficient execution regarding regional aviation.

Read full Article:

The flags of Caricom member states are raised duriing a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniverary of the Treaty of Chaguaramas at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre on July 4. PHOTO BY ANGELO MARCELLE –

Is Caricom aviation safety about to take backward step?
The Gleaner of Jamaica reported on July 9 that consultants Baastel Canada, working with LPD Hall & Associates (Baastel-LPD) recommended the restructuring or closure of Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS), the aviation organ of Caricom.

This recommendation was contained in the consultant’s draft report, based on a Canadian-funded review of the operations and effectiveness of 16 Caricom institutions, including CASSOS and which, was seen by The Gleaner.

According to the consultants, “CASSOS has never been resourced by the MS (member states) to fulfil its mandate and is currently operating a skeleton staff of one person. CASSOS does not have the resources to effect its mandate.”

“No harm would come to the region if closed,” said Baastel-LPD, and its recommendation is for CASSOS training and auditing activities to be transferred to the original Association of Civil Aviation Authorities.

The consultants’ final report is due to be presented to Caricom leaders for approval by December.

From as early as 1999, Caricom states were struggling to establish their aviation safety oversight systems in accordance with the eight critical elements prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Safety audits under the ICAO’s universal safety oversight audit programme (USOAP) identified deficiencies in primary legislation, regulations, competent technical staff and procedures for certifying and continuous surveillance of air operators, airmen, maintenance organisations and aviation training organizations.

Fire officers in action during an emergency drill at Piarco International Airport on November 11, 2022.Photo courtesy Airports Authority – Photo courtesy Airports Authority

A number of Caricom states were earlier assessed as Category 2 countries after similar deficiencies were identified by audits by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme. A Category 2 rating put restrictions on the national airlines of the countries, such as a freeze on the number of aircraft operated and route expansions into the US.

The root cause of these deficiencies was inadequate human and financial resources. This prompted the FAA to offer assistance to Caricom states to establish a regional aviation safety organization to share resources and promulgate harmonised laws and regulations based on the ICAO Annexes related to personnel licensing, airworthiness and aircraft operations.

This gave birth to the Regional Aviation Safety Oversight System (RASOS), under the auspices of the Association of Civil Aviation Authorities of the Caribbean (ACAAC).

True to its word, the FAA obtained funding under President Bush’s third border initiative, and for several years provided onsite technical assistance to Caricom states for establishing their safety oversight systems. The FAA also published a model primary law and model civil aviation regulations for use by states. As a result, Suriname, TT and the OECS States successfully implemented their safety oversight systems and were upgraded to FAA IASA Category 1 countries.

The successes of RASOS prompted the ICAO’s supreme body, the 35th assembly, in September 2004 to adopt resolution A35-7, directing the ICAO council to “promote the concept of regional or sub-regional safety oversight organisation.” to build regional safety oversight capabilities. All subsequent ICAO assemblies have reinforced this concept by resolutions.

In 2005, the ICAO expanded the USOAP to include all safety-related annexes of the Chicago Convention, including aviation security. As a result, the board of RASOS made representations to the Caricom Secretariat for the creation of a community aviation organ to comply with the goals and objectives of the aviation related provisions in Chapter 6 – Transportation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and the Chicago Convention and its Annexes.

In February 2009, after being approved by the Caricom heads of government, CASSOS was formally launched at the headquarters of the Caricom Secretariat in Guyana. CASSOS succeeded RASOS, with functions that were redefined and broader in scope and included all the annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) setting out CASSOS’s main objectives was developed and signed by the directors of Civil Aviation of Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Suriname and TT.

A key objective of CASSOS is to facilitate and promote the development and harmonisation of uniform civil aviation regulations, standards, practices and procedures amongst its states parties consistent with the Chicago Convention and its annexes.

A major benefit of CASSOS is the cross-border use of aviation safety inspectors within Caricom. However, because of insularity, the longstanding goal of harmonised Caricom commercial pilot’s licences, aircraft maintenance engineer licences and aviation maintenance organisations remains elusive up to this day.

In crafting their draft recommendations, it is unclear whether the consultants tapped the institutional memories of any of the founding directors of the RASOS and CASSOS to appreciate the rationale and background for the formation of CASSOS. This writer, who was a founding director of both RASOS and CASSOS and in 16 years served as CASSOS vice chairman for four years and then as its chairman for another four years, was not consulted.

The consultants are correct in their conclusion that CASSOS is not achieving its mandate. This is mainly due a lack of commitment by most member states to its stated objectives. Therefore, the real solution is for the Caricom heads of governments to recognise the criticality of aviation safety and tangibly recommit to the primary objectives of CASSOS in order for Caricom aviation safety to sustainably remain cutting-edge.

The writer, as a very experienced international aviation safety specialist, finds the consultants’ recommendations on CASSOS puzzling. A review of their websites does not show their competencies in the regulation of international civil aviation safety.

Both the ICAO and the FAA expend tremendous resources to support the efforts of CASSOS and promote regional aviation-safety initiatives. There will be a lot of harm and hurt to the Caricom aviation industry by the shutdown of CASSOS or any restructuring of it in a manner that takes away from its core mandate. This would be a significant backward step for the Caricom aviation safety that could have serious repercussions from the wider international aviation community including the ICAO and the FAA.

Experience is the greatest teacher, and the recovery process will be very painful, expensive, difficult and long.

32 thoughts on “An Elusive Category 1 Designation

  1. I gotta read this thing to understand it but I want to give you two quotes and then my opinion
    (1)”The writer, as a very experienced international aviation safety specialist, finds the consultants’ recommendations on CASSOS puzzling. A review of their websites does not show their competencies in the regulation of international civil aviation safety.”

    (2)[ According to the consultants, “CASSOS has never been resourced by the MS (member states) to fulfil its mandate and is currently operating a skeleton staff of one person. CASSOS does not have the resources to effect its mandate.”

    “No harm would come to the region if closed,” said Baastel-LPD, and its recommendation is for CASSOS training and auditing activities to be transferred to the original Association of Civil Aviation Authorities.]

    You know my qualifications. I don’t have any, but I don’t want a ‘one man skeleton crew’ or a ‘security guard’ or ‘one part-time person’ doing anything with safety for me.

    Instead of CASSOS let us go back to RASSHOS doing the job. From the name RASOS, I know to expect something.

  2. Boys and girls gather around.
    Did you see how the author try to discredit the consultants and big up he self and then send you down the wrong path

  3. This article actually represents a very serious inditement of the failures of regional leadership in practically all areas In recent decades.
    Civil aviation is one of the ‘no-brainer’ areas where regional cooperation and coordination makes intuitive sense, So when the matter of regional air safety could come to the position being described by the author, we would all do well to take a very deep breath and seriously worry about any meaningful future for the region.
    Imagine a group of tourism dependent islands, having been found wanting in meeting international standards, and then being HANDED the needed technical and financial resources to address the gaps, (except for a very few countries – NOT including Barbados) not only failed step up to the required quality standards, but are now about to take themselves back to the three decades old position where they did not even have a regional STRUCTURE in place to address the shortcomings.
    …and this based on advice from typical albino-centric ‘cuntsultants’ who generally think that we should all remain in our tree houses munching on our bananas anyway – rather than getting involved in their fancy business dealings..

    The writer is obviously also part of the problem. After having enjoyed executive positions on the oversight committee for extended periods, and NOT being able to achieve the goals set for the organisation during that time that HE held the responsibility… who the hell is he now blaming for its failure?
    … stinking Bushie?

    The damn people are brass bowls
    The administrators are lazy, clueless non-performers
    The politicians are hopeless and visionless…
    …and yet, ..SOMEHOW, some of us claim an optimistic outlook


    • Blight and curse, even worse, the planned big heist went SPLAT.

      All i needed was the details.

      Is dem turn now.

    • Bushie please
      Barney, Sousy’s older brother, remember him? He could run real fast, then became a Minister, and then had a bruggadung with Ellis?
      He is now His Excellency Noel Lynch Barbados Ambassador to the USA and UN.
      A few weeks back, in Georgia (USA one) he told all and sundry that Barbados is one of the best managed countries in the world.
      You need to get in step with Barney?
      And since he was a former Minister of Tourism (I think), and we have numerous tourism related entities, all of whom are to file Annual Reports (AR’s), find fuh muh the AR’s for the BTMI and BTI (BTII), just to prove Buhbaydus is one of the best managed countries in the world. (Hint, some exist…and do you recall the Carnival Destiny)

  4. I don’t know one thing about this topic, though I do find it alarming how we cannot seem to sort out our air transport issues.

    This morning though, I come with a travel advisory. Last night, I was completely catspraddled by reports coming out of Italy which claim that a judge has arbitrarily decided on a ten second limit as the point at which groping becomes a crime.

    Apparently, a 60+ year old caretaker of a school pulled down a 17 year old schoolgirl’s pants, grabbed her underwear and pinched her bottom “as a joke”.

    He was acquitted of sexual assault.

    Now Italians have launched a social media campaign against the decision. 🤔

    Women are apparently still leaving the house to go to work.

    I gone ’til I can get my brain in order. Every day it gets crazier and crazier in this world.

    Forgive me, David, for the diversion.

  5. I believe that, based on his qualifications, GAIA CEO Hadley Bourne could’ve contributed to establishing Barbados’ aviation safety oversight system. Unfortunately, he could not ‘get a job’ in his homeland. Fortunately, for Mr. Bourne, he was able to satisfy the prerequisite experience and qualfications for the SVG government to appoint him as CEO of that island’s new Argyle International Airport.

    • @Artax

      Fair enough but the issue here is that the oversight system established under the aegis of Caricom has failed?

  6. @Donna
    Thanks for the update.
    Geezer 1 is now travelling with a stopwatch, but geezer1 might still get caught. My pinch may be two seconds too long.

  7. Economics 101
    Airlines make losses

    During antebellum when African imports stopped, the price of slaves rose leading to the Capitalisation of Wombs

    The Disturbing Truth About Breeding Farms During Slavery

    • Could you please explain how your above information is relevant to the topic?

  8. David, all the more reason why we should utilise our resources. Bourne could have been included in any attempt to establish local or regional aviation safety requirements.

  9. Today’s terrorist strike on the Crimea Bridge will be considered a category 6. With one being the highest level and 6 the lowest.

    Sin embargo! Two are dead. A child injured.

    For Russia will take the now normal, unemotional, posture as it has serially done. As it follows Sun Tzu’s admonitions.

    However, they have linked the regimes in Washington and its satrap in London as having direct roles in this terrorist attack.

    Crimea has always been a part of Russia, absent a drunken stupor of Nikita Khrushchev which joined it to Ukraine in 1954..

    Still 90 percent of Crimeans are Russians.

    We have a dying financial empire and its satraps anxious to give a fascist Kiev regime capture of Russian peoples in Crimea and the Donbass purely for geopolitical, military reasons. Reasons which ultimately are aimed at balkanizing Russia and stealing its massive resources.

    This writer was never as level-headed as the forces that be within the Kremlin, as they are. The haters of Russia in the West have found comfort it what they see as irrationality. Taking the opportunity to continue to push the envelope.

    But be careful, for the Russians are best known for being slow to mount their horse. But once they do ….. they ride like the wind.

    • Was looking for you last night to say everything is out of control. There is a whole new narrative in play. Just gotta ride it out. As safely as one can.

    • They mounted and was riding like the wind for over a year like on a humid Georgia summer day
      U did forecasting thunderstorms and tornadoes for about the same length of time

  10. Capitalism necessitates unemployment and poverty, which necessitates illegal business, the regulation of which is what causes violence.

    there is sort of this, like, connection between unemployment and capitalism and why capitalism needs unemployment and then, like, why capitalism and unemployment create crime. And then there’s just a sort of, like, hand-waving about, like, all of the ill effects of crime.

    And I don’t want to sound like the villain in this story…

    …Who is like, how dare you do something wrong? But I’m also like, you know, crime actually has a lot of ill effects in our society. Like, that is, like, an actual real thing. And so to look at it from such a macro systemic level that you’re sort of, like, getting away from, like, the actual lived-in experience of what it feels like to be in this underclass – because the people in that underclass are the people who are most likely to be a victim of that crime. I was just like, can we have one other color that is not black or white with, like, all of these analyses?

  11. David

    What did I say about this GAIA? Didn’t I say Kemar Stuart was clueless? Neither of the two names mentioned in that GAIA release is on the list of prequalified bidders he posted in his article. That’s why in my then comments I mentioned IFC and Symmonds’ comments in Parliament. The integrity legislation debate is Friday btw. Watch muh!🤣🤣

    • Which only goes to reinforce the apparent uselessness of getting prequalified?
      And why is GPII elsewhere placing such value on it.
      Its a wild wild west game, has always been. Don’t waste time and effort getting PQ’d, if you’re not will to keep a very close handle on the project.
      Maybe the Sheikh can send some of his horses or his daddy’s to run in the Gold Cup.

  12. “Capitalism necessitates unemployment and poverty, which necessitates illegal business, the regulation of which is what causes violence.”

    Socialism necessitates borrowers, beggars, lazy civil servants, incompetent politicians, gun violence and eventually a Haitian lifestyle. Barbados has always thought socialism and free education was a cure-all for SLAVERY, however its just the next step to full financial bondage with continual poverty.

    • Perfect summary as always Wily.

      The real joke however is that the Judases who fall for the trap actually believe that the couple pieces of silver for which they betrayed the brass bowls who trusted them, will save them from serfdom along with their political disciples.

      But it will be even worse for their donkeys and the burros of their kith and kin…

    • Bushie

      What bullshiite.

      And you hold the hand of a similarly backward friend.

      The histories are not at all as simplistic. But we expect a rejoinder to double down on this utter none sense as imbued with the notion that all knowledge is located within a few square nano centimeters beyond your cranium.

      Typical of someone unread about the fascinating histories of capitalism, the struggles within and amongst both capitalism and socialism, the similarities between John Maynard Keynes and Karl Marx, for example, the adaptations borrowed from each, etc.

      In short there are deep and interesting philosophical discourses which have never crossed your brain space, which outside of a foolish book, have never been allowed to venture anywhere near your cerebral vacancy.

      Only because it is you that we suggest Radhika Desai’s magisterial works. You may also find her at Geopolitical Economy Report on Youtube. Of course, there are vast libraries.

      Bushie stop talking shiiite with idiots and suspend judgements until you are read. And be jesus christ don’t tell us any shiite about some bossman and your pseudo – mysticism.

  13. “The Maloney company, which is headquartered at Bushy Park, St Philip, said it is in a position to meet the needs of the industries it serves, such as construction, mining, port, agriculture, power generation, highway and transportation.”

  14. @Artax

    You are following how the Air Antilles strike is compromising regional travel out of St.Lucia with many Bajans stranded last few days and perhaps many more to come?

    • @ David

      Now seeing your comments.

      Apparently, Air Antilles employees, including pilots in Guadeloupe and Martinique, are demanding pay increases.

      As a result, those employees, represented by the National Union of Airline Pilots, decided as of July 19th, to extend the strike indefinitely, until their demands are met.

      Affected passengers are experiencing difficulties in finding alternative travel arrangements.

      I also understand travel agencies have incurred expenses as a result of the strike.

  15. The USA has none of the top 25 airports in the world.

    Mek sense from that for it’s pregnant with meanings.

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