KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Why were passenger bound for St. Vincent left in Barbados while their scheduled LIAT flight flew stranded REDjet passengers to Guyana?
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves was hoping that Brian Challenger, chief executive officer of LIAT would have answered that question when Gonsalves telephoned him on Monday.
However, Challenger was at a funeral in Antigua and missed the call from Gonsalves, a LIAT shareholder prime minister.
Gonsalves told Vincentian journalists that he was informed that the REDjet aircraft that was scheduled to fly from Barbados to Guyana had mechanical problems and LIAT was contracted to take fly the passengers.
“People had to buy tickets. But what disturbed me is that when this brother told me that this Vincentian lady and her daughter had to wait for the flight that was supposed to take them to St. Vincent, that is one of the planes which went to Guyana. And they had to wait until they came back from Guyana in order to come to St. Vincent,” Gonsalves said on Monday.
“… I want to find out what is happening because we can’t be treated like this,” Gonsalves said.
“I can understand you want to take advantage of the business to go to Guyana but those who had booked their passages on REDjet, it seems to me that they should wait until you drop your passengers in St. Vincent to give them the ride to go to Guyana, even though it means more business,” Gonsalves added.
“So, I am hoping that this report, which I got, is not a correct report. … But I make the point to show that the mother-in-law (LIAT), who is so reliable, you had to come for her. You went off, you go for your REDjet; fine! You had to come back to the mother-in-law to take care of things,” Gonsalves said.
REDjet, a privately owned low-cost carrier based in Bridgetown, “had a number of problems”, Gonsalves said.
“They have two planes. They want more planes. It is amazing you know, everybody wants us to take LIAT out … but LIAT had to take the [REDjet] passengers from Barbados to Guyana.
REDjet was back in the air on Wednesday after the airline On Tuesday, for the third time in five days, was forced to cancel flights because of problems with the aircraft.
The company’s communication executive, Nyssa Pierre, said that REDjet’s aircraft had been down with hydraulic problems.