The rift between St Lucia and ECCAA, The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority deepens after seemingly reaching its boiling point in light of ongoing issues surrounding LIAT.
But what is even more surprising is that St Vincent and the Grenadines have been caught smack-dab in the middle.
Civil Aviation Minister Guy Joseph said not only is the government unhappy with ECCAA, but it is also upset with the decisions that are coming forward and the things that ECCAA allows to happen in the region.
“Did ECCAA allow a planeload of passengers to land at the new airport in Saint Vincent? And when legitimate aircraft come here and are trying to find a license to operate in Saint Lucia, they get all sorts of run around.”
The Civil Aviation Minister Joseph made the statement in reference to the landing of a Liat ATR 72-600 aircraft, 3 days before the General elections of 2015 in St Vincent.
These are critical issues Joseph said must be dealt with in the fastest possible manner.
“We are not going to allow Saint Lucia to be held ransom by any entity whatsoever.” he added.
Joseph said if these matters cannot be addressed by ECCAA, the government will have to make its own moves.
Chastanet as tourism Minister in the previous Stephen King Government had been in a battle with the aviation regulator over an air operating certificate that would have permitted CARICOM Airways to fly to routes in the Eastern Caribbean.
The then government had plans to create a mini-hub in Saint Lucia, suggesting that such a move would have increased the number of direct flights to other destinations and reduce the cost of air travel.
Castries has indicated they are considering switching from ECCAA to TTCAA (Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority, as well as making Caribbean Airlines St Lucia’s Flag Carrier.