Tourism Minister, Clarice Modeste-Curwen has issued a call to the regional island-hopping air carrier, LIAT to apologise to the people of Grenada for what she has termed a disgrace on the part of the Caribbean Airline in properly servicing Grenada over the Christmas holidays.
Modeste-Curwen was at the time speaking at the official opening ceremony of the Port Louis Marina and Creole Village at Lagoon Road, St. George's.
The senior Government Minister said that many Grenadians, as well as visitors wishing to travel to and from Grenada over the Christmas holiday period suffered tremendously due to LIAT's discourtesy.
"I think it would be remiss of me if I did not ask LIAT to apologise to the people of Grenada and the Caribbean for the disservice that it has given to us," she told the gathering."We have suffered severely from a lack of service from LIAT, a lack of consideration, a lack of caring from LIAT, a lack of conscience from the people who manage LIAT," she added.
According to Modeste-Curwen, if LIAT does not have the courage to apologise, then as Minister of Tourism and a member of the Grenada government "I want to apologise to all of you because nobody has seen it fitting to do it."
Since the demise of the Trinidad and Tobago's state-owned airline, BWIA, and with LIAT buying out another of its competitor, Caribbean Star, it has once again retained the monopoly of providing airlift service in the smaller islands of the region.
Modeste-Curwen charged that a monopoly should not give anyone or any entity the right to abuse the people that it is serving, "and LIAT has done that."
"Since LIAT has again assumed monopoly we have again began to suffer," she remarked.
She indicated that her government has a responsibility to ensure that the current situation does not continue.
The female government minister gave notice that the Keith Mitchell-led administration in St. George's is already in discussion with other airlines to provide additional airlift into the country.
"I want to assure you that we are working very conscientiously behind the scenes to ensure that airlift into and out of Grenada, and to areas within the region and from areas within the region improves in the not to distant future", she said."We are working on it and very soon we expect to be making an announcement in that regard," she added.
The tourism minister also addressed concerns of international flights coming into Grenada.
She said that while Grenada has done fairly well with airlift from Europe, the island has suffered severely from a scarcity of flights from North America into Grenada.
However, Modeste-Curwen said that there is now some improvement with additional flights by Air Jamaica coming out of Miami.
There are also unconfirmed reports that American Airlines might start regular service into Grenada from Miami.
Modeste-Curwen disclosed that her government is at the moment holding discussions with other airlines to ensure that there are direct flights into Grenada from Miami this year."Given the scope for expansion and development of our tourism industry in the area of stay-over tourists, we need more (flights)," she said.
Chairman of Port Louis, Peter de Savary also spoke out against LIAT's unreliability in servicing the Grenada tourism sector.
He said the de Savary Group sees "LIAT as a problem to Grenada" and that his outfit along with other developers are working together in an effort to improve the airlift situation.
De Savary gave assurances that these people are committed to improving the situation within the next 18 months.