CARICOM Airways will be back in the skies soon.
St. Lucia’s Attorney General Laurenzo Rudolph Francis has said that the aviation dispute over landing rights for the St. Lucia-registered airline has been resolved and a statement to that effect is expected to be released by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), according to a Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) report.
Francis told CMC that he accompanied Tourism Minister Allan Chastanet to Antigua and Barbuda for talks on the issue last week and “while not providing details of the agreement, indicated that the ECCAA has acted hastily in calling for the grounding of CARICOM Airways”.
“We have been able to amicably resolve the matter following our talks last week and I am happy to be in a position to help clear up the legal ramifications involved in what is in fact a complicated issue,” Francis said.
“The matter with ECCAA was primarily a legal one and the outcome of the talks suggested that the regional body acted prematurely in grounding the carrier as they did not have any legal basis.
“As Attorney General I considered it my duty to assist the Minister of Tourism and Government in general in this matter and I can assure you that it was very successfully resolved,” Francis added.
According to reports, Chastanet had threatened to ground two Vincentian carriers operating in St. Lucia unless authorities in St. Vicent and the Grenadines allowed the St. Lucia-based CARICOM Airways to land there under a reciprocal CARICOM arrangement.
However, in a recent ruling the ECCAA announced that CARICOM Airways was operating illegally, and has ordered the carrier to immediately discontinue its operations within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
But according to the CMC, Francis said he expects the carrier to resume flying shortly.
“We intend giving CARICOM Airways as much support as possible in keeping with our long term goals of making St, Lucia a hub for tourism development and travel within the region, that essentially is our interest,” Francis said.