Caribbean airline LIAT has refuted claims by Delta Petroleum’s Tortola-based General Manager (GM) Bevis Sylvester, who has suggested that LIAT staff may have stolen his Blackberry phone on the aircraft on Feb. 3.
In a statement released today, LIAT branded the “allegations to be extremely serious”, noting that “the company has been in contact with the passenger and LIAT’s Security Department is continuing its investigations into the incident”.
LIAT said “based on reports received during our preliminary investigations: – Bevis Sylvester was not the last passenger to deplane, as one article suggests
- There is no record to support the claim that Mr. Sylvester identified an employee with whom he pleaded to return his phone
- Sylvester was assisted by LIAT representatives on duty who responded to his complaint that he could not locate his phone
- There is insufficient evidence to state that the alleged theft occurred onboard the aircraft or by a LIAT employee.”
The news first surfaced in St. Kitts-Nevis online publication, SKNVibes, in which Sylvester explained that he was visiting the Federation to conduct and finalise a number of business deals when he lost his cell phone. Sylvester said his company is planning to hold its annual staff gathering in March, and to host the massive event they had sought St. Kitts as its venue – hence the main reason for his visit.
Sylvester told SKNVibes that after he disembarked the aircraft at the VC Bird International Airport in Antigua and was proceeding through the security area, he recalled that he had left his phone on one of the seats in the aircraft.
Sylvester explained that while in the aircraft he was in conversation with one of Tortola’s richest businessmen who was seated next to him.
“We were the last two persons to exist the plane as we were both having an important conversation, taking into consideration that we are both from Tortola. As we were going through security I realised that my phone was not on me, so I immediately informed security that my phone was left on the seat. Now we were the last two persons and it was a mere two or three minutes I was out of the aircraft when I realised that my phone was not on me. I returned to the aircraft but found no phone and this left me devastated,” the general manager was quoted as saying.
He told the newspaper that his phone was a BlackBerry “and it contains invaluable and tremendous information that are critically important in his day-to-day execution of his duties”.
“It’s not just a BlackBerry phone, as I can always get another one. But it’s the information that was in that phone I am worried over. I have lost contact details and critically important information on a lot of persons, and some of the information is irreplaceable,” he said.
Sylvester is adamant that a LIAT employee picked up the phone.
“The phone was picked up by an employee of LIAT and this is not fair. You just can’t go around stealing people’s phone. This is inexcusable! I could understand if it were money or something like that, but to steal someone’s BlackBerry phone in this day and age is what I am really upset about,” he said.
The Delta GM told SKNVibes that he had an unsuccessful trip because the incident had affected a number of his planned meetings in the Federation.
“One of the LIAT employees at the airport was very embarrassed because they knew that the phone could have only been picked up by one of their staff. These people need to know that you can’t go around stealing like that. It’s not that I lost my phone but, rather, it was stolen from me; which means that I have some issues with persons stealing from the people who they are expected to serve and to provide a service to,” he was quoted as saying.
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