Categorized | Features, Opinions

How do I get from here to there?

by Theo Semper
Editorial Consultant MNI Alive

There is someone in Montserrat with the title of Access Coordinator. His name is Vincent Hyppolite and in my opinion he is not doing a very good job. Sorry, I am not being fair to Mr. Hyppolite. He is doing a terrible job.

I’m guessing that Mr. Hyppolite’s job is to coordinate the travel to and from Montserrat. I wonder if this is his full time job and if he is really getting paid to do this.
OK, I will back off of the “Access Coordinator” for a minute and figure out how I’m going to get home for Festival. I am a seasoned traveler and I work in the aviation industry so I have figured out the best way to do this. At least, I’ve figured out the best way to get to Antigua. I determine the date I want to get there and then figure out the best way to get there based on availability of seats and the time my flights get into Antigua.

Most people don’t have the same access to air travel that I do and they go about getting home a bit differently. Most people determine that they are going home early in the year and start looking for the most inexpensive flights available. Some people have to lock in their flight several months in advance and pay a deposit to reserve the best fare. Their flight schedules are not very flexible. And these days flights are extremely expensive.

Then there is the issue of bags. It is no longer free to carry bags on an airline coming from the USA or the United Kingdom. In addition to the ticket price they have to factor in some extra funds, up to $60 for bags to fly along with them.

OK. So the flight is all sorted out. We have saved and dug deep to come up with the airfare and baggage fare because we know we have worked hard all year and we deserve this holiday at home. We are all set to get to…

Antigua! But we are not going to Antigua. We want to go to Montserrat!

The official Montserrat Tourist Board site tells me that I have choices. There are two airlines willing to charge me an arm and a leg for a 15 minute trip from V.C. Bird International Airport to John Osborne Airport. And they will carry all my bags if I am willing to pay for the extra bag. DIDN’T I JUST PAY EXTRA FOR BAGS TO GET TO ANTIGUA?
But I have an option. There is a ferry. There will be a ferry. No. The last time I checked the ferry service has been suspended. It will be started up in December. Yay!

So it’s December 5th, and I checked again and there seems to be good news from the Access coordinator. Ferry service will be restarting December 8th. And there will be another trip on December 11th. This is wonderful news from Mr. Hyppolite, if I was traveling on either of those dates. BUT I AM NOT!

“A schedule for additional service throughout the Christmas period is being worked out and more information will be forthcoming shortly,” says the access coordinator. Rubbish! You knew December is peak travel time and you have not yet sorted such a vital component of travel to Montserrat for our people coming home? Not all have the luxury of being able to afford air travel.

It is December 5th. The Christmas season is in full swing and you are still working out a schedule beyond 2 days? I’ll tell you what; maybe I’ll just click my heels together and hope that you sort it out by the time I get to Antigua. Maybe I should hold off until the limited seats on Winair and Fly Montserrat departing after 4:30pm have been sold out, then I will have no option but to cross my fingers and hope.

But the Government’s official site promised “marring unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, there will be a ferry service for the coming Christmas Season.” I will not comment further on the incorrect use of the word “marring.” Maybe I should trust that this promise will be fulfilled.

In any case, I have a few questions in case there is actually a regular ferry service within the next week or two when most Montserratians and visitors will be venturing home.
1. How will the information on the ferry service be communicated?
2. If there is a disruption in service at any time, how will this be communicated?
3. Is there an agency running the ferry service that can be contacted by travelers?
4. Is there any arrangement for transfer from the airport to the seaport? What does it cost? How is Customs and Immigration issues worked out?
5. Will there be someone at V.C. Bird Airport helping people with transfer to Montserrat?
6. Did you not know that there would have been an increase in the number of people visiting Montserrat at this time of the year?
7. Mr. Access Coordinator, do you agree that you are not doing a very good job at getting people to the final leg of their journey home.

Some people are going to come home every year no matter the hassle because they have a personal interest. But for others, it is not worth all the hassle, cost and lack of information. If I was to employ an “Access Coordinator” his job would be to make sure that there is seamless access to the Emerald Isle by people who are interested in traveling there.

This is not happening. Hopefully he will pull a rabbit out of the hat within a few days because right now, the “Access Coordinator” is failing miserably at his job.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on www.mnialive.com

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Theo Semper
Editorial Consultant MNI Alive

There is someone in Montserrat with the title of Access Coordinator. His name is Vincent Hyppolite and in my opinion he is not doing a very good job. Sorry, I am not being fair to Mr. Hyppolite. He is doing a terrible job.

I’m guessing that Mr. Hyppolite’s job is to coordinate the travel to and from Montserrat. I wonder if this is his full time job and if he is really getting paid to do this.
OK, I will back off of the “Access Coordinator” for a minute and figure out how I’m going to get home for Festival. I am a seasoned traveler and I work in the aviation industry so I have figured out the best way to do this. At least, I’ve figured out the best way to get to Antigua. I determine the date I want to get there and then figure out the best way to get there based on availability of seats and the time my flights get into Antigua.

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Most people don’t have the same access to air travel that I do and they go about getting home a bit differently. Most people determine that they are going home early in the year and start looking for the most inexpensive flights available. Some people have to lock in their flight several months in advance and pay a deposit to reserve the best fare. Their flight schedules are not very flexible. And these days flights are extremely expensive.

Then there is the issue of bags. It is no longer free to carry bags on an airline coming from the USA or the United Kingdom. In addition to the ticket price they have to factor in some extra funds, up to $60 for bags to fly along with them.

OK. So the flight is all sorted out. We have saved and dug deep to come up with the airfare and baggage fare because we know we have worked hard all year and we deserve this holiday at home. We are all set to get to…

Antigua! But we are not going to Antigua. We want to go to Montserrat!

The official Montserrat Tourist Board site tells me that I have choices. There are two airlines willing to charge me an arm and a leg for a 15 minute trip from V.C. Bird International Airport to John Osborne Airport. And they will carry all my bags if I am willing to pay for the extra bag. DIDN’T I JUST PAY EXTRA FOR BAGS TO GET TO ANTIGUA?
But I have an option. There is a ferry. There will be a ferry. No. The last time I checked the ferry service has been suspended. It will be started up in December. Yay!

So it’s December 5th, and I checked again and there seems to be good news from the Access coordinator. Ferry service will be restarting December 8th. And there will be another trip on December 11th. This is wonderful news from Mr. Hyppolite, if I was traveling on either of those dates. BUT I AM NOT!

“A schedule for additional service throughout the Christmas period is being worked out and more information will be forthcoming shortly,” says the access coordinator. Rubbish! You knew December is peak travel time and you have not yet sorted such a vital component of travel to Montserrat for our people coming home? Not all have the luxury of being able to afford air travel.

It is December 5th. The Christmas season is in full swing and you are still working out a schedule beyond 2 days? I’ll tell you what; maybe I’ll just click my heels together and hope that you sort it out by the time I get to Antigua. Maybe I should hold off until the limited seats on Winair and Fly Montserrat departing after 4:30pm have been sold out, then I will have no option but to cross my fingers and hope.

But the Government’s official site promised “marring unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, there will be a ferry service for the coming Christmas Season.” I will not comment further on the incorrect use of the word “marring.” Maybe I should trust that this promise will be fulfilled.

In any case, I have a few questions in case there is actually a regular ferry service within the next week or two when most Montserratians and visitors will be venturing home.
1. How will the information on the ferry service be communicated?
2. If there is a disruption in service at any time, how will this be communicated?
3. Is there an agency running the ferry service that can be contacted by travelers?
4. Is there any arrangement for transfer from the airport to the seaport? What does it cost? How is Customs and Immigration issues worked out?
5. Will there be someone at V.C. Bird Airport helping people with transfer to Montserrat?
6. Did you not know that there would have been an increase in the number of people visiting Montserrat at this time of the year?
7. Mr. Access Coordinator, do you agree that you are not doing a very good job at getting people to the final leg of their journey home.

Some people are going to come home every year no matter the hassle because they have a personal interest. But for others, it is not worth all the hassle, cost and lack of information. If I was to employ an “Access Coordinator” his job would be to make sure that there is seamless access to the Emerald Isle by people who are interested in traveling there.

This is not happening. Hopefully he will pull a rabbit out of the hat within a few days because right now, the “Access Coordinator” is failing miserably at his job.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on www.mnialive.com