Government unaware Barbuda without airlift
Key members of government, to include Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Minister responsible for Barbuda, Arthur Nibbs, have said they were unaware that there had been no airlift to and from Barbuda since December 1.
Government sources told State media, on Monday, that the present carrier between Antigua and Barbuda, SVG Airlines, sent a letter to the government, dated November 27, notifying them of the impending disruption of flights from December 1.
In the letter, the St Vincent based airline allegedly informed the government that its aircraft would be out for maintenance for four weeks.
Prime Minster Gaston Browne said up until yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, he was unaware of the situation, while Chairman of the Barbuda Council, Arthur Nibbs, said he, too, was uninformed about the situation until it was already too late.
“I think somebody dropped the ball,” he told OBSERVER media. It was during one of my routine trips from Barbuda over to Antigua that one of the local agents for SVG took the opportunity to inform me that they’d given us these two options and were waiting on the response.”
As soon as he received the relevant communication, Nibbs said he began to make arrangements to rectify the situation.
Cabinet will meet today (Wednesday) to discuss its options.
SVG Air is said to have proposed an agreement between the government and Anguilla Air Services, allowing the charter airline service to operate the flights between Antigua and Barbuda during the maintenance period.
Minister Nibbs declined to expound on the government’s options ahead of Cabinet’s meeting, but said the ABLP administration would work feverishly to restore flights to the sister isle.