Head of the Tourism Authority, Glen Beache. (iWN file photo)

Head of the Tourism Authority, Glen Beache, wants persons to stop calling Sunwing Airlines to inquire about its expected flight to Argyle International Airport on Feb. 14, when the airport opens officially, six years behind schedule.

Beache said on Tuesday — two weeks after he announced that Sunwing and Caribbean Airlines (CAL) — would be chartered to fly to argyle, that calls to Sunwing may become “annoying” to the company.

His comments came as he addressed the media launch of Vincy Mas 2017, where he announced for the first time that tickets for the Sunwing flight could be obtained through Toronto-based G.G. Tours.

But less than a month before the flight, Beache, who has been trying for years to get airlines to make scheduled flights to the airport, also asked that people not called G.G. Tours until he tells them to.

His comments came as he addressed the media launch of Vincy Mas 2017 — the 40th iteration of the festival since the carnival was moved from the pre-Lenten season to June-July.

Beache said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is about to enter “a new era”, noting that for the first time, the nation will have an international airport

“It opens up a lot for us to do. It opens up a completely different way of how we market the destination. We would now be able to work directly with the major airlines — something that we couldn’t do before, because we never had that influence,” Beache told the launch in Kingstown.

“This is a chance for us to be even better than good. It is a chance for us to be great, to carry carnival to the next level, to carry a lot of our product — the product that is St. Vincent and the Grenadines — to the next level. And make no mistake that Carnival is part of the tourism product,” he said.

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Beache said that he knows that since he announced — two weeks ago — about the airport beginning operations, he has said that Sunwing will fly to Argyle from Pearson International in Toronto and CAL from JFK, New York.

“And we are still looking at one from the United Kingdom,” he said.

“And I’m going to take this opportunity to really say this again. You are not going to find chartered flights under the listing of Sunwing, under the listing of CAL, because it is a chartered flight,” Beache said.

“So when I have people from Sunwing calling me because some Vincentians are calling them and keeping the operators from the call centres busy at the busiest time of the year for them, it can be annoying to them.

“And we’ve built a good relationship with Sunwing. They are some people we would like to continue to speak to. Sunwing is not responsible for the charter, as I have said before, and I will give you some details now, because I think it is pretty much coming to an end, where I can announce the details, hopefully by the end of this week.”

Beache said the Tourism Authority is working with a tour operator, G.G. Tours, in Toronto.

“They have chartered the flight. They are the ones who will be selling the tickets and our plan is that when G.G. Tours puts in the information into the system that it would be available to every tour operator and travel agent in Canada.”

He said Vincentians can let their relatives in Canada know that G.G. Tours will arrange the charter.

“Please, do not call them until you hear the announcement from us. Please,” Beache said, adding that the announcement would be made soon.

He said the same obtains for CAL but said he would not give the tour operator that will arrange the charter.

“But CAL cannot sell the tickets. It has to go through a tour operator also. That is the way it is done. So, for all the so-called experts out there who continue to call Sunwing while they are doing a radio programme, I mean, we really have to be bigger than this. We really have to do things properly. We are going to be on a different level. Let us make the most of it. Let us be positive in everything we put forward. Let’s us be positive about Carnival,” Beache said.

He further spoke of the attitude he wants Vincentians to adopt at the Feb. 14 opening of Argyle International Airport.

“I want us, as a people, to be proud,” Beache said.

“Forget about ULP and the politics, forget about NDP. Mind you, I will out there in a red shirt,” he said to laughter, adding, “Make no mistake about it.

“But, it is a time for us to be proud of our accomplishments. People can say what they want; you can say what you want about the prime minister or the party or whatever. I dare you, anybody in here, to tell me of somebody else who would have come up with such a magnificent plan to construct that airport, because we know we could not have afforded it on our own,” Beache said.

9 replies on “Don’t call airlines that will fly to Argyle — Glen Beache”

  1. As a civil servant — as someone supposedly serving all the people of SVG — how dare this man say he is going to wear ULP colours at the opening of the airport on February 14, a direct conflict of interest that would get him fired in a truly civilized country. (Another example to prove that SVG is not a civilized country but a backward and corrupt Third World playpen of scamps and crocks.)

    I just hope that G.G. Tours has demanded full up front payment from the government. If not, they would never be paid in full.

    1. Patrick Ferrari says:

      Aw, C. ben, wearing red is par for the course, dread. And who is going to stop him wearing red, anyway? Ralph Gonsalves? The leader? For Christ’s sale, the Prime Minister was waving a red flag at the groundbreaking of the airport in 2008. On what moral authority could he stop Beache – or anyone else – from wearing red. God forbid, not that he would have the desire let alone the drive. C ben, tell me when you understand the significance of choosing Valentine’s Day.

      Ralph Gonsalves does not know what constitutes a conflict of interest. You see, a conflict of interest is more a moral issue than a legal one and Gonsalves exonerated the said Beache when he, Beache, was caught “red-handed” in a textbook case of a conflict of interest with the incentive to put his personal interest in his private company ahead of the interest of the people he is paid to serve.

      An exoneration by Gonsalves is perpetual – as long as the exoneratee wears red. And is Beache going to wearing red? Then, there you have it – Catch-22. An “I AM LABOUR” sticker on your car is a “DON’T TOUCH” message to the police.

      That immoral tone was set long before the Beach conflict of interest incident. And tone from the top matters.

  2. So why make the announcement if there was nothing concrete to report. We have a small population so I don’t believe there are a humongous number of calls to the airline and the charter company. Plus this is good advertisement for them. It appears that Vincentians are planning to use their services, so where is the beef?
    Folks in the Diasporas need to plan their vacation months, sometimes years in advance, especially those with jobs. Only in emergency cases one could request time off with 3 or 4 weeks advance notice. It’s a different story for retired folks on a pension, who may still need time to plan due to financing. I always tell people it’s a waste of money and time to fly home for a vacation that’s less than 4 weeks. The youths may do that for carnival and a few may also visit for Christmas. But that’s it!
    Pensioners visit and stay for months. Hence the charter system may not work well for them. They may be able to fly in to SVG on a charter, but getting out on a charter could be difficult. It will take some time to sort this mess. Meanwhile the volume of visitors to the island would be diminished outside the carnival and Christmas season.
    This entire International thing is a wait and sees issue, especially in the absence of major air carriers for Canada, US and the UK.

    1. This charter crap is just a political poppy-show to deflect attention from all the intelligent issues you have raised.

      Beache recently said that building the airport was the easy part and getting airlines and people to come in large numbers is the really hard part, something many of us have been saying for years.

      But every day on Star FM, Milton Cato’s nephew, Burns Bonadie, keeps shouting that the airport and the hotels and resorts are the key issues and that these have or will soon be addressed.

      This is utter nonsense: the key issue is raising the interest and volume of international tourists which would automatically translate into interest by the airlines in providing non-stop regularly-scheduled flights from New York, Miami, Toronto/Montreal, and London which would automatically translate into international developers (not little companies like Pace Developments Inc.) wanting to build large resorts and hotels all over the mainland.

      In short, Ralph a dem have the whole international travel paradigm ass backwards whose too-too will soon fly in our faces.

      What hurts me then most is that “all a dem know all a dis” which is why there is the beginning of a propaganda campaign that says the airport was built primarily to ease access to and from the mainland for Vincentians.

      This is what Vinciman, the ULP’s chief paid Internet propagandist just wrote about this on January 5, 2016:

      “This AI Airport is for the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines primarily, not any ‘tourist airport’ as you and the others always like to imply or suggest, and we will see to it that you or no one will deny us this reality. It is long overdue and a welcoming sight in the eyes of all well meaning and patriotic Vincentians” (Caribbean News Now). 

      Why this about face from what the whole ULP team has been preaching since 2005? Simple. Since no international airlines or major global resort developers are interested in servicing our mainland, it is necessary to historically rewrite the primary purpose for AIA’s construction, a process that will accelerate as time goes on.

      Much worse, this big lie would never translate into many more travelling Vincentian passengers thereby making AIA a waste of time, money, and other opportunities for development.

  3. This is a national project and all true Vincentian should be rallying around this project, stop the political strive. Sometimes I do wonder, if some of you who use IWN to post your comments are really Vincentian, most of you have so much hatred. You will never find no citizen of any other country behaving in the manner as you all those

    1. Dave from Toronto says:

      WilliamG,

      I’m with you on this one. I’ve been trying for months to get this into the thick skull of C. b-D and his buddies in the peanut gallery, without any luck. Actually, I do believe it’s all one person who writes and comment on his own garbage. I guess when you sleep alone at night, you need something to look forward to in the morning.

      If it were up to me, a few of the people who post here would be tried for treason and locked away. I know that he is gonna claim freedom of speech, but some folks are so much about themselves that they fail to understand the impact of the garbage that they spew.

  4. How dare Mr. Beache tell us what we should and should not do? If SunWing and CAL do not want the calls, a simple recorded message stating that they do not offer flights to SVG at this time should suffice. Hey, Mr. Beache, I will call anytime I feel like it, and I dare you to try to stop me. You are blatantly announcing to all of us that you are a puppet of the ULP. I think that as a civil servant you would serve impartially, but it is SVG, and that will not be. Go ahead, wear your red shirt, have a good time. But remember that all good things must and will come to an end.

    1. Dave from Toronto says:

      Hey Vinci,

      I’m not on one side or the other. However, I think you are mistaken in your assumption that a civil servant is somehow impartial.

      Actually, a civil servant should be non-partisan, meaning that they should not be a strong supporter of any political party. However, the role of the civil service to to implement the policies of the party that has been democratically elected, even if you are not personally in favour of them. The government is acting as the collective will of the people. If a civil servant, in due conscience, cannot implement such policies, then he/she should resign.

      This is the way the civil service in all major democracies function.

  5. Dave from Toronto says:

    CBD, who is preventing you from leaving the country and living somewhere else? I’m sure there are many deserted islands out there.

    Maybe, you might want to leave now. Otherwise, you’ll have to leave through the very gateway that you opposed.

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