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

Glen Beache, the man at the helm of the state agency responsible for marketing St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as a tourism destination thinks that those who do not like the nation’s international airport should travel by sea.

Beache was lashing out in response to the latest in scores of opinion pieces by C. ben-David on the Argyle International Airport (AIA), which opened in February 2017, six years behind schedule and at twice the initial estimated cost.

He, however, did not say whether those persons who he advised to take a boat rather than using AIA should have any say on whether their taxes are used to service the debt on the EC$700 million facility, contribute to the EC$21 million to operate it annually, or the millions of dollars that some citizens suspect the government is spending to subsidise international carriers flying to the airport.

In the opinion piece, “The painful future of nonstop international travel to Argyle airport”, published by iWitness News on Sunday, ben-David said that even with the middle of year approaching (an apparent reference to Vincy Mas and the summer period), prospects of additional nonstop flights to AIA “are unlikely”.

“What we know about visitor arrivals since AIA began operation on Feb. 14, 2017 also allows an estimation of how many of this year’s visitors will be bona fide foreign tourists as opposed to diasporic Vincentians,” ben-David said.

Ben-David has said in his comments on the iWitness News website and elsewhere that he is a retired university professor who holds a doctorate, but uses a pen name because he wants readers to focus on his ideas rather than on his identity.

In his piece, ben-David presented a table of “Estimates of 2018 Stayover Nonstop North American Arrivals at AIA”, which he said were based on a number of “assumptions”.

Beache, in a style that even Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has chided him for, released a lot of heat but very little light when he said on the iWitness News Facebook page:

“This story is the best joke for 2018 so far. All I will say is This, his numbers are wrong and he Cates (sic) about is trying to get rid of the ULP administration. For those of you who don’t like AIA, please take a boat. I am sure that will make you a lot happier. Thank you guys for the Sunday laugh”.

Argyle International Airport. (iWN file photo)

The irony of Beache’s response is that in an opinion piece, “Data sharing Vincy-style” published by iWitness News on March 28, 2018, ben-David complained about how difficult it was for him to get data from the Tourism Authority.

He said that the 2016 and 2017 SVG visitor arrival statistics posted on the Tourism Authority web site “were so sloppily formatted that they were almost impossible to read”.

However, despite no fewer than seven emails to various functionaries in the 31-member Authority, including its three statisticians, ben-David said he had received “neither an acknowledgement nor the requested correction”.

Beache, who had publicly said that he was “tired” of the airport because of the repeated delays in construction, seems to think that such frank commentary about the national project is reserved only for some.

He has given similarly condescending responses to commenters on social media and even to iWitness News when we held him to account about an allegation he made about a media entity not attending an event to which he had not invited them.

In the wake of last Sunday’s public relations gaffe, Beache found support among some social media users, some of whom commented in support or “reacted” to this post with “like”, “love” and other “positive” emojis.

It’s the people’s right to question their ‘employees’

However, some commenters also took issue with Beache’s attitude, with some of them noting that while he had said the data in the opinion piece was incorrect, he had not taken advantage of the opportunity to say what the correct information is.

“Sir, it will be better served to post the tourism numbers for educated weighing especially with young people in view,” Camille Janiffa Bradshaw said in response to Beache, a former minister of Tourism and representative for South Windward, who quit electoral politics after one term.

“I cannot imagine anyone with lens on the people, ‘hating’ the airport. Perhaps, persons are of the opinion of better use of funds, view that it was ill timed, the vision stopped at the building without consideration of economics, the potential hardship on generations to come … With the widespread promoted political divide, I am also not ignorant to party over people being in play however, that is simply noise,” Bradshaw said.

She further said that whatever the reasons of critique, “IT IS the right of the people to question/challenge its employees. It is also the right of the media to publish stories of interest of the people (of course with the position to stand corrected).

“Further, ‘please take a boat’ is unbecoming. It speaks to defensiveness, promotes further divisiveness and stands on a platform of entitlement. Young minds in view, question everything. Public relations is a skill that is greatly lacking in SVG, perhaps a consideration of this opportunity when weighing career paths may serve well,” Bradshaw further said in response to Beache, who has in the past said that marketing and public relations are his forte.

“For the betterment of the nation, better packaging, inclusion of the people with one message and incentives to be brand ambassadors will realize a shift,” Bradshaw said.

Meanwhile, Jason Minors, addressing Bradshaw on the thread, said Beache is “really out of place!!!!

“… soo sad could you imagine they in charge of a country,” Minors further said.

“dude sit down….don’t you work at the tourism industry making tax payers money…?” Duwayne Saunders, another commenter said in response to Beache.

‘get a publicist’

SVG has a very reliable ferry service, but Beache did not say whether he was suggesting that person takes a ferry and depart from one of the four airports in the Grenadines or to one of the international airports in neighboring countries.

Ashley C. John, in his comment, applauded Bradshaw, saying that she “spoke like a boss”.

John said that Beache, as one responsible for marketing the SVG tourism product, “ought to be very careful the words he use[s].

John went on to suggest that Beache get a publicist saying that jobs such as the tourism CEO’s “are for national interest not political”, noting that a democracy “gives one the right to question something many in St. Vincent don’t like or appreciate”.

John said that marketing teaches that the 4 per cent of people who keep noise are our best customers compared to the 96 per cent who walk away quietly and do lots of damage.

“Oh how we don’t learn because we are not consistent when it comes to being professional and ethics and civility seem to have no meaning here…” John lamented.

Judy Sally Gordon, referring to Beache by his former title as a minister of government, said, “Dear minister, I thank you for your suggestion in respect to taking a boat as an alternative to flying.

“However, I think it defeats the purpose of the main idea, which is for St. Vincent to have an international airport that’s convenient, reliable, and with affordable flights.”

Gordon noted that affordable flight “isn’t based on the airport per se” but added that an airport that has multiple airlines can and will promote more affordable flights amongst airlines…

“What I speak of Mr. Minister is simple supply vs. demand. To those ends, suggesting people take the boat as a so call alternative to using the international airport that was built with tax payers money, and for the soul (sic) purpose of attracting tourists, enhance St. Vincent Economy, create more jobs, and etc., [a] suggestion is for St. Vincent to do a better job attracting airline carriers…”

‘the generation that challenges everything is slowly getting here.’

Ricky Hill, in his comment, stated from the outset that he does not care about politics in SVG, saying,  “it is all a big joke.

“… I’m tired of opinions/viewpoints just being thrown aside just because they are opposing. This happens from both sides,” he added, noting that he was making that point in case someone takes his comments personally.

Hill said that he loves St. Vincent.

“I want St. Vincent to do better. I want the airport to be a success, but I also want a fair response to well thought of articles from time to time and not just a ‘please take a boat’.

“The generation that chews and swallows everything is getting old and the generation that challenges everything is slowly getting here. This ‘Sports Games Politics’ will not fly for much longer so y’all better start getting your facts together (and by y’all I mean both sides) or some random 3rd party would just come and take over.”

Hill said he was “especially annoyed by your (Glen Beache’s) response to Camille Janiffa Bradshaw.

“What she said was made sense and once again it was just brushed off. Y’all need to do better here. I’m getting tired of it.”

When iWitness News because aware of the discussion on its Facebook page on Thursday, there was no comment by Beache in response to Bradshaw.

Hill had ended his comment by saying, “I’m working so hard trying to build tourism here in St. Vincent and you’re on here not even trying to have productive conversation about important topics.”

47 COMMENTS

    • Vincy Lawyer,

      Thank you for your comment.

      However, it would be more helpful to point out a specific error or specific errors rather than merely request that articles be proofread — the suggestion being that they are not.

      • I just re-read this well written and argued piece and the only error I found was the use of round ( ) brackets instead of square [ ] brackets around the word “sic.”

        Meanwhile, Vincy Lawyer, whose only “bar” membership is the bar at the neighbourhood rum shop, uses three !-marks too many.

        I guess this expert on prose and composition, as well as the law, was referring to the bad spelling and grammar in the posts you quoted from which you had no right or responsibility to edit.

      • Gotta really love you sometimes C, Ben. The fake Lawyer who seems to have a pretend education and personality is no match for you. Remind me never to run into you in a dark alley on many intellectual pursuits. I very much disagree with you on certain things but you are certainly a person whose intellect i would not want to have a contest against.

      • Mr Chance,

        Re-read it all for clarity and you will see. I dont need to be pedantic, especially with good intentions. I emailed you also.

        Lost Pet and Ben, I’m a tough nut to crack so your jabs doesn’t move me. My battle field is a court house or a submission, not here. Go try bullying someone else!!!!! #foremphasis

        C Ben its a shame your claim to fame has made you more infamous than famous!!!!!!!!! #extraemphasis

      • Thanks, Vincy Lawyer, for your suggestion.
        However, it is very difficult for someone to proofread what they wrote, hence our earnest request that you point out any specific errors you might have seen.
        Thank you, again, for your efforts.

    • Dear Mr Chance,

      It is indeed difficult to proof read your own work. I know this all too well that is why, I have a team of trusted friends and colleagues (varying backgrounds and expertise) that I send my work too always. A second and third eye, always makes the difference.

      Maybe you can consider this practice (that’s only if you are already not doing so).

      All the best.

      • Vincy Lawyer,

        Thank you for your suggestions, which assumed that iWN does not try to take advantage of a “second and third eye”.

        Amidst the discussion, you have not responded to our request to point out any particular errors that we might have missed.

        Doing so would have made for a better reading experience for those who come after you.

        Thank you, all the same, for your time, observation, and suggestion.

        iWN Team

  1. The real irony in this latest of a long list of gaffes that would have seen Mr. Beach fired years ago in a developed and progressive country, is that if my toursim numbers are wrong, as he claims, they are wrong on the high side.

    A reliable insider in Canada has just now passed on the following information, obtained from a Sunwing flight attendant, about the bi-weekly Sunwing flights from Toronto to Argyle airport on a plane with a capacity of 189 passengera:

    Toronto to SVG – May 9, 2018 = 78
    Toronto to SVG – May 23, 2018 = 50
    SVG to Toronto – May 23, 2018 = 107

    This works out to only 41 percent of seats occupied on these three filghts, which verifies what I have heard elsewhere.

    In Table 1 in my latest opinion piece cited above, I used a generous estimate of 75 percent of seats being sold and filled on Sunwing flights which nevertheless still translates into hardly any foreign tourist arriving and departing on the airline in 2018.

    If the true figure is around 40 percent, we are closer to an economic abyss than even I could ever imagine which may account for Mr. Beache’s petulant remarks.

    • very frightening information. does this mean that somehow us taxpayers are not only paying to keep the airport open but also just to get these flights to come here, because i do not believe Sunwing makes anything. Half the cost of a Liat flight is tax that passengers have to pay. What is the situation with Sunwing?

      • This is what the opposition should be pestering the government about night and day. What was the contents of the contracts with each of these airlines and how much are we losing per flight?

        These should not be state secrets.

  2. It is ignoramus’ such as Beache (and the Clown Prince) why SVG is in the situation that it currently is in. We should take a boat? Really? How about we just forget SVG completely, and take planes to other destinations throughout the Caribbean? It is most amazing that two (2) persons not born in SVG believe that they can say and do whatever they want to Vincy people. I’m sorry but a person who was only able to attain success/prominence because daddy imposed him on a nation, is not a measure of success.

    He has been CEO of the Tourism Authority for how long? (A job created by daddy because he couldn’t handle being a MP) What can he point to as a success? Let me guess, a structure in Argyle that is a literal millstone/anchor on the nation? As an overseas-based Vincentian, can I with a clear conscience recommend that my coworkers visit SVG? Bad roads, rampant crime, countless rapes, dilapidated schools and buildings, beggars galore, persons selling their souls and bodies to survive, rampant sexual assault of children, selectively “justice”. Need I go on?

    • I am so surprised that you know more about SVG than our leadership. Too bad that those that live here are not as awake as you are. Your honesty is very refreshing..Thanks!

  3. We should ask if Glen Beache would have the government jobs if his daddy had not done Gonsalves the initial favour that also earned daddy a knighthood?

    Does Glen deserve such a job and has he proved competentcy so far?

    To say “get a boat” is an insult to us his employers, he seems to have forgot his place.

    I suppose the Beaches feel they are part of the dynasty royalty, they may live like royalty but it ends right there, royalty they most certainly are not.

  4. I hear all this back and forth but no one suggested a solution as to how to fix what is wrong. Instead folks take the low road. AIA is here and we need to knock heads together to make it viable so that all can benefit. Like any start up business you have to be prepared to put in the time to be successful. Really I would rather see we use our time and opportunities more productively. Every one must be on board. It would be a sad day if the airport fails and we have to go back to the nonsense we had. I had my share of nightmares traveling through some of our Caricom neighbor airports. I’m sure we all have our stories. Please put this petti stuff aside and work in the interest of St. Vincent and the Grenadines if we profess we love it. As I said before I have no political affiliations, my concern and intrest is to see SVG prosper in every way.

    • Leon have you learnt nothing from C. ben-David’s numerous articles? Are you so thick that you still believe in fairies?

      The AIA can never be a success, even if you die and go to heaven it will still be a white elephant for evermore.

      Get to grips with the fact that you like the rest of us were duped with the airport which was little more than a political tool to fool the ULP voters.

      Whats worse we still do not know the cost or exactly how much money was transfered to the Cubans over the years.

      ‘A Political Tool To Fool’

      Leon I suggest you read all of C. ben-David’s articles which he likes to describe as his essays.

      • I read them all and understand his arguments, however, as I stated before, we cannot go back to what we had. Rasta man say back is death. Should we abandon it like we did with Ottley Hall, Diamond Dairy, the sugar factory with the structures standing like ghost on a lot lands idly and unproductive?

    • I read Kenton’s report but fail to see what proof reading that is required. The article is well written and grammatically correct. The only thing I see is a possible run on sentence starting from the paragraph beginning with he and ends at airport. This is my preference only rather than a grammatically incorrect.

      I don’t like long paragraphs especially when there are excessive commas. Otherwise I am asking Vincy lawyer to point out what needs to change.

    • Leon, I am sick and tired of people like you arguing that, “AIA is here and we need to knock heads together to make it viable so that all can benefit” implying that ordinary people like your and me can do anything to make the airport work or that the airport was built for some national benefit rather than to benefit only the ULP which built the facility to enhance their chances of being re-elected time again, the only benefit it will ever see.

      Claiming that AIA is viable enough that all can benefit is like claiming that the passengers on the sinking Titanic should have knocked their heads together by staying onboard prayubg for salvation rather than abandoning the doomed vessel. Indeed, those who stayed aboard are at the bottom of the sea.

      Those who continue to throw money, hope, prayers, or false patriotism at AIA will end up drowning in a sea of debt, despair, and misery.

      • C ben, I agree with both you and Leon. It is possible that Leon just did not explain himself as well as you usually do. I hope I m not wrong in making an assumption to finish his thought. He is right that it is here to stay in spite of it being a major liability. What he may be trying to get at is that in order for it to “work” we have to make the country “viable” before the airport can be viable. The airport was a mistake, we should have been improving the country first. Singapore did it so that tells me it is at least a possibility although it will in many ways, not just financially, cost us far more than the airport itself and at least a decade of sacrifice.

      • C ben, the Titanic problems was caused by people like you who had the chance to do something and didn’t.

    • None of the passengers on the Titanic could have saved it from sinking. Only the Captain could have chosen a different course. Our own Captain Ralph has chosen this Argyle airport tourism course and we, the masses, have been forced along on this rough voyage to perdition with no choice of jumping ship except to migrate overseas which thousands have done and more thousands wish to do.

      So, Leon, please tell me exactly what I can do, besides praying, to ensure that Argyle airport will be a success, and I will gladly jump aboard your ship.

  5. Mr Beach has the audacity to say take,a boat, he is being presumption to say such a thing. I want to remind him that he is not a son of the soil ,but a foreigner by definition. I could have said something that would annoy him but even the truth pepole want to sue you for any trivial matters.

  6. From what am reading and understanding..vincy will never unite because of the political party contradicting your blessings…at the end of the day we are a nation..Do I agree with the blunt remark he said no..do he have a point yes..being that it’s only one airport active …sea is your only alternative..it’s just his wording..sometimes we just put thing out of proportion..but instead of talking about it let’s all work on it now so the future generations will be blessed with more opportunity…

  7. Kenton take it from me you are doing a wonderful job and offering a well desired service to vincy at home and the diaspora.

  8. beb-David, I would really appreciate that when you post criticism, that you also post recommendations or suggestions. I say this respectfully. You seem to be a man with high intelligence. In my opinion, it does no good to criticize only; and this goes for ALL the critics on any matter that concerns the people of SVG, not to include some SOLUTIONS. Another question is: What do you, highly intelligent folks do to help the less fortunate people in your communities? Do you have Homework clubs? Do you have social groups to share ideas to build character in the youth? What do you do? I am humbly and respectfully asking.

    • Hello Annis. i am not C. ben but i can defend him by saying he is doing a great deal by waking many people out of political indoctrination. At least those that are able to analyze facts. For my part i have created 5 jobs directly and approximately 20 indirectly. All these jobs are in the private sector. It is possible that i have created just as many PRIVATE SECTOR jobs as our Prime Minister. The difference is that he has destroyed thousands of private sector jobs with his bad economics.

    • My sentiments exactly, being critical without any recomendations is really useless, shows you can only breakdown but lack the skills or willingness to build. Sad!

    • Actually, I have said many good things about tourism in the Grenadines and offered several suggestions for improvement.

      I have also suggested that eco-tourism can be enhanced on the mainland but cautioned that too many eco-tourists can have negative environmental impact, as many countries are increasingly finding.

  9. Could someone please bring me a baby bottle to put in Ben’s mouth, in order for him to stop crying. Spoiled child need to be disciplined. This individual has been preaching one line for years, and has not gotten anywhere. Folks, the first man to land on the MOON were Ben David, they’d mistakenly named the late Neil Armstrong. An expert on every subject, name it, Ben has it covered. Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment you’ve been waiting for: please welcome the one and only C. Ben David, the man with the most recycled material.

    What do have to say?

    Ben: Thanks for welcoming me to this prestigious event, my name is C. Ben David, I’m a born Canadian, but frequent the beautiful Island of SVG. My sole intention is to see the dismantling of the AIA cause it’s been a noose around the necks of Vincentians.

    What evidence do you have?

    Ben: This has been the case from all indication, Sir.

    Why are you meddling in the people’s domestic affairs?

    Do you pay tax?

    Ben: I don’t cause I’m not living here.

    You’ve used strong language in the pass to describe the government and people, now you’re pleading for support regarding your essay?

    Ben: You are right Sir, I’ve written numerous pieces critiquing AIA and SVG, 74 total.

    Any success so far?

    Ben: It’s been an uphill bottle, but am hoping that one day Vincentians can see why I’m doing this.

    On this particular subject you’ve failed, full time you change course can’t you see the folks are jubilant they’ve embraced this modern infrastructure, please remember this, baby (creep) before they walk.

  10. I don’t know who C Ben David is and i honestly don’t care. I am not a Vincentian but I’m married to a beautiful lady originally from Layou and I visit quite often and keep abreast of what’s happening. In a few years I hope to retire here and live the rest of my days on this earth in this beautiful country. I am a teacher by profession and have attained the rank of Professor. I think then, that I would be able to differentiate the difference between constructive discourse and destructive discourse. It is my opinion that C Ben David always engages if the former kind of discourse. It seems like he has a grouse with this ULP government and particularly the AIA. I have not seen one constructive critique of the AIA. It would seem that he goes out of his way to find something wrong with the AIA.
    Were there issues with its construction etc.? Yes. Are there problems and issues now? Yes. Will there be issues and problems to face in the future? You bet your bottom dollar yes! But there has been no airport I know that started without issues and problems. It takes time C Ben David and it seems that you are not prepared to give AIA the time it needs to walk before it is allowed to run. Mr. Beache might not always get it right. The numbers will not always add up and your preferred party might very well win the next elections, but regardless, the AIA will still be there and all Vincentians and those like me who love the country, should have a vested interest in making sure that this airport succeeds!

    • Actually, I have said many good things about tourism in the Grenadines and offered several suggestions for improvement.

      I have also suggested that eco-tourism can be enhanced on the mainland but cautioned that too many eco-tourists can have negative environmental impact, as many countries are increasingly finding.

      I have also suggested many alternatives to the foolishness of having constructed AIA.

      Too bad that as a “professor” you don’t see the contradiction, even hypocrisy, of trying to destroy what I say by complaining so much that I only engage in destructive discourse.

    • Ric, you are spot on in your critique of C. Ben David. I am not a Vincy either, but someone who takes a keen interest in what is going on in the region and especially likes to see progress in development. In the last 8 years or so, we redeveloped the international airport in Nassau, Bahamas to the tune of $410 million. Yes, there were naysayers and yes, people found fault with even the tiniest details. But today the airport is a runaway success story. It employs thousands and hosts 3.5 million passengers annually. It is indeed sad that C. Ben David always seems to criticize from a destructive angle. He somehow manages to convince some really lost people that his cynicism is a sign of intellect. That is sad.

      SVG will never really develop until it upgrades its infrastructure, whether or not that means instant touristic success. There are so many dividends to be found in infrastructure upgrades (many of them hidden) that it is the height of ignorance to present AIA as a failure simply by pointing to flight loads and passenger numbers in the first years of operation. Upgraded infrastructure become part of the inalienable patrimony of a country. At least give it the opportunity to present some of those dividends before attacking it mercilessly with negative “essays” (a good word, because they are academic rather than practically constructive).

    • Mr ben David is a particularly evil man. I doubt that he is a Vincentian. If you check his M.O., you will find that he operates like a rat. He bites then blows on the bitten spot to sooth it. He claims to holds Ph.D. in every discipline. There is a way to find out who he/she/they are. Right click on his email, you will then see the metafile for transfer package for the email. The IP address is also listed here. You can then use an IP search to see where the Ip address is located. Then we can expose this fraud. How can someone claim to be a patriot when at every turn you seek to undermine the efforts of your own country (That is high treason).
      Kenton Chance publishes everything that the evil traitor, C. ben David writes but, censors other people’s comments (and he is supposed to be a smart Vincentian). Also, Kenton, you have poor word choice in your articles you misuse the passive voice frequently, misuse punctuation in compound sentences, you have frequent faulty tense sequences, sometimes no closing punctuation and improper formatting. Frankly, I make the some of the same mistakes but I don’t publish an online newspaper.

  11. Rejector song said it all if those who are under the spell could just look within their souls then this once blessed land might start moving again.

  12. Only this country have problems ,no other countries ,C Ben , write extensively about other countries , and take your evil mouth off this country .

  13. Gents, I will continue to slam this lying, envious, non national. Absolutely no respect for this fool. How can I side with someone to pull down the land of my birth? I’ll never engage in such thing, SVG is my home, proud patriotic Vincy! The man behaves as if UK/US/Canada without sin, perfect societies. We don’t need your input Ben, control your home. Stay out of SVG’s affairs. The dude is a complete failure, 74, no inroad. C.Ben David’s name is aligned with negative comments, frankly speaking, had I the owner of these Media Houses, would not publish his work.

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