Categorized | Features, Local

Flashback: Montserratians Grow Less Able to Afford to Leave Their Island

A 2005 TMR Editorial

When the initial decision was made to follow the rigged tender and eventual compilation of the findings after the tenders were opened, it was obvious that was also rigged. And it is also obvious that when the decisions were being made to allow WINAIR to improve its pricing for the tender to outdo LIAT, it is more than reasonable to believe that the persons doing so knew that they would not have to meet the cost of a ticket, certainly not for the next two years, to travel out of Montserrat and beyond Antigua.

With all that and all the hype about what the new Gerald’s airport would mean for Montserrat economically, very few ever gave thought beyond “wait and see” or downright disagreement about who would benefit economically from the WINAIR monopoly. Nearly every Montserratian stood by and listened (or maybe they just didn’t bother) to all the arguments as to why it was unfair and wrong to give the tender to WINAIR.

Yet despite all this, except that much remains to be desired as they facilitate passengers from Antigua to Montserrat, and despite their seeming lack of presence in Montserrat, business wise, WINAIR seems to be doing their best. One ought not believe that the reports of discomfort that passengers speak of flying out are much WINAIR’s fault. But in the end, it is Montserrat that will suffer from any of their shortcomings.

It needs early study that when someone, who must take a flight out of Antigua on Friday evening, cannot get a booking days before and is faced with traveling to Antigua on Thursday evening, nothing there is to the benefit of Montserrat. And when people who brave it to come over for a day visit get stranded, we will lose hundreds of visitors.

That aside, long before the ferry disappeared from the scene The Montserrat Reporter sounded the warning to all and sundry that it was not too early to begin to think of what we would be up against. And when we all found out that LIAT would be, as what every Montserratian thought was a foregone conclusion, the operators out of Gerald’s airport, the matter became even more urgent.

Now The Montserrat Reporter is being hounded to say something about the prohibitive cost of travel, the cost already having increased in just the first month and threatening to go higher; how could all the arguments that were put forward be forgotten?

Is it because we really believed that $175 was not so bad after all? What is it now, with the many different tiers, none of which will ever be as low as it would have been with LIAT, who would have charged little or no more for a through fare to one of its other destinations out of Montserrat. With WINAIR it appears that even if you are traveling to St. Maarten, one of its destinations, it makes no difference.

It is Montserrat – Antigua and Antigua to St. Maarten and back. Oh yes, we are still waiting for the request to publish the rates.

One would think that this is a matter for our Communications Minister to continue what seemingly was a pretense when he claimed to have carried the fight to influence the tender decision, was nothing but an afterthought it turned out. But when have they ever represented the cause for Montserratians and where it hurts most? And how can we expect them to cheat themselves by so doing?

We did hope, clearly in vain, that action would have been taken in the interest of the country, even suggesting that we do not always have to “bend to the fancies and pockets of our ‘masters/s’ and their underling…”

It makes no sense to us to repeat, as the information is all available, as we argued, “it will be Montserrat and its visitors who will be left to suffer for at least two years . . that may well make the difference as to whether we sink or make progress.”

We argued that we believed the consultants’ reports were flawed; we said “it is not only unfair but wrong, to put LIAT in the same hat with WINAIR.” One of our biggest concerns then, as is being proven so early, was the eventual cost of flying from Montserrat. No one took it seriously when they could pay $200 or even $140 on top of the additional fare. Now it is nearly $400, and it is bound to hurt, and badly too. And if we think that because we wish we could cater to only the rich, they are the ones who count the pennies. We better come good.

Now for more reasons than one, some from fear and others strictly because it is prohibitive, people are tied to this land without the usual stress buster accommodations.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

A 2005 TMR Editorial

When the initial decision was made to follow the rigged tender and eventual compilation of the findings after the tenders were opened, it was obvious that was also rigged. And it is also obvious that when the decisions were being made to allow WINAIR to improve its pricing for the tender to outdo LIAT, it is more than reasonable to believe that the persons doing so knew that they would not have to meet the cost of a ticket, certainly not for the next two years, to travel out of Montserrat and beyond Antigua.

With all that and all the hype about what the new Gerald’s airport would mean for Montserrat economically, very few ever gave thought beyond “wait and see” or downright disagreement about who would benefit economically from the WINAIR monopoly. Nearly every Montserratian stood by and listened (or maybe they just didn’t bother) to all the arguments as to why it was unfair and wrong to give the tender to WINAIR.

Yet despite all this, except that much remains to be desired as they facilitate passengers from Antigua to Montserrat, and despite their seeming lack of presence in Montserrat, business wise, WINAIR seems to be doing their best. One ought not believe that the reports of discomfort that passengers speak of flying out are much WINAIR’s fault. But in the end, it is Montserrat that will suffer from any of their shortcomings.

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It needs early study that when someone, who must take a flight out of Antigua on Friday evening, cannot get a booking days before and is faced with traveling to Antigua on Thursday evening, nothing there is to the benefit of Montserrat. And when people who brave it to come over for a day visit get stranded, we will lose hundreds of visitors.

That aside, long before the ferry disappeared from the scene The Montserrat Reporter sounded the warning to all and sundry that it was not too early to begin to think of what we would be up against. And when we all found out that LIAT would be, as what every Montserratian thought was a foregone conclusion, the operators out of Gerald’s airport, the matter became even more urgent.

Now The Montserrat Reporter is being hounded to say something about the prohibitive cost of travel, the cost already having increased in just the first month and threatening to go higher; how could all the arguments that were put forward be forgotten?

Is it because we really believed that $175 was not so bad after all? What is it now, with the many different tiers, none of which will ever be as low as it would have been with LIAT, who would have charged little or no more for a through fare to one of its other destinations out of Montserrat. With WINAIR it appears that even if you are traveling to St. Maarten, one of its destinations, it makes no difference.

It is Montserrat – Antigua and Antigua to St. Maarten and back. Oh yes, we are still waiting for the request to publish the rates.

One would think that this is a matter for our Communications Minister to continue what seemingly was a pretense when he claimed to have carried the fight to influence the tender decision, was nothing but an afterthought it turned out. But when have they ever represented the cause for Montserratians and where it hurts most? And how can we expect them to cheat themselves by so doing?

We did hope, clearly in vain, that action would have been taken in the interest of the country, even suggesting that we do not always have to “bend to the fancies and pockets of our ‘masters/s’ and their underling…”

It makes no sense to us to repeat, as the information is all available, as we argued, “it will be Montserrat and its visitors who will be left to suffer for at least two years . . that may well make the difference as to whether we sink or make progress.”

We argued that we believed the consultants’ reports were flawed; we said “it is not only unfair but wrong, to put LIAT in the same hat with WINAIR.” One of our biggest concerns then, as is being proven so early, was the eventual cost of flying from Montserrat. No one took it seriously when they could pay $200 or even $140 on top of the additional fare. Now it is nearly $400, and it is bound to hurt, and badly too. And if we think that because we wish we could cater to only the rich, they are the ones who count the pennies. We better come good.

Now for more reasons than one, some from fear and others strictly because it is prohibitive, people are tied to this land without the usual stress buster accommodations.