Letter: The 'boo-boos' for the Sunwing inaugural flight

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Letter: The 'boo-boos' for the Sunwing inaugural flight

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Dec 09, 2009


Letter: The individual and collective 'boo-boos' for the Sunwing inaugural flight
Published on Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The breaking news of the mis-handling of the “Sunwing flight” and the gross embarrassment suffered by our country is indeed a reflection of the national lack of leadership, direction and sense of purpose by the new tourism bosses and by extension the government of the day.

It is inconceivable to witness a litany of errors by so many individuals and therefore it gives me cause as a Grenadian to make a few comments and pose the following questions. Now let's begin with

Sunwing Airline

1. Sunwing Airline would have filed a flight plan to Grenada long before its arrival.
2. Luckily, the aircraft had half an hour extra fuel to burn while circling Grenada for almost 30 mins. with over 90 scared passengers abroad.
3. Who would compensate the airline for the wasted fuel and time lost!
4. The pilot of Sunw ing is obligated to file a report with his company and the Canadian Civil Aviation Authority – how embarrassing!
5. The pilot would have contacted Trinidad or Barbados Airports as a security measure after circling Grenada indefinitely, in the likely event he had to over-fly, so as to secure his passengers and aircraft. How embarrassing!

* For a second time, Sunwing Airline on December 1, 2009 was made to circle the runway for approx 15 minutes before landing

Now to Ms Jenny Gumbs – Grenada's Consul General – Canada

1. Did our Consul General in Toronto, Ms Jenny Gumbs, receive from the Ministry of Tourism or the Board of Tourism an itinerary or an agenda of activities, before she arrived in Grenada? If not, why didn’t she demand one? She had a responsibility to have known what to expect on arrival in Grenada, and not be surprised and embarrassed.
2. Couldn’t our Consul General move into action and save face for our incompetent tourism and airport officials and address the flight officials and passengers from the office of A.S,G on their P.A System and act as though this was part of the welcome plan?
3. Couldn’t Ms Gumbs have moved into action and requested coffee and juices from the Airport restaurant upstairs while our Airport manager and everyone else were asleep.
4. Ms Gumbs should not have been surprised on arrival and should have had a plan of action agreed upon between herself and the bunch of incompetent local tourism and airport officials before landing.

And now to the $26,000 man, our airport manager– Mr Andall

1. Mr Andall, could you confirm or deny that you are the highest paid NDC government appointee in Grenada, earning over EC $26,000 per month plus a free car and other perks?
2. Mr Andall, could you confirm whether your Management team was made aware of the “Sunwing Flight”?
3. Mr Andall, do you know that you have a responsibility to ensure that tower staff and or your sub-manager for the tower staff was fully briefed on the early arrival of this flight plus ensure a back up plan?
4. Mr Andall, could you confirm if the Chairman, Mr Rodney George and Board Members of the MBIA, were briefed on the arrival of this inaugural flight?
5. Mr Andall, was the Chairman or any Board Member was at the Airport to greet the flight officials and passengers?
6. Mr Andall, did you see it fit to be at the airport yourself to ensure that all was going well as is expected by an airport manager?
7. Mr Andall do you know the danger that this aircraft and passengers were exposed to while circling Grenada at an altitude unknown to any other possible incoming aircraft?
8. Mr Andall, could you explain why the runway was not checked and certified okay before 5.00 a.m at the latest?
9. Mr Andall, could you confirm or deny that you have had no prior knowledge or experience in the operations of an airport.
10. Mr Andall, could you confirm or deny that prior to your airport manager appointment, that you were a branch manager of a local bank in St George’s and that your experience in banking or counting other people’s money is a far cry to managing an airport?
11. Mr Andall, were you not the Deputy Chairman of the Airport Board and later resigned your post and applied for the position of Airport Manager? Do you consider this “transparent”?
12. Mr Andall, is it true or not that you convinced the then Minister of Tourism, Hon Peter David, that you could “wipe out” the airport debts in two years as mentioned on TV and that you were earning a similar salary at the bank?
13. Mr Andall, is it true or not that your salary was approved by Cabinet and not first by the Board as is the normal practice?
14. Mr Andall, is it unreasonable to call for your resignation along with several others in the Tourism industry ?

Madame Minster of Tourism – Honourable Glenis Roberts

1. Madame Minister, could you explain why it was more important for you to be in Angola during this important time of Sunwing’s flight?
2. Madame Minister, did you insist on ensuring that a planned itinerary was approved by you regarding the arrangements for the “Sunwing” inaugural flight?
3. Madame Minister, did your permanent secretary, Mrs Arlene Outram (Buckmire), the GBT Chairman Mr. Strachan or the director of Tourism Mr Joseph brief you on plans for the “Sunwing” arrival and if so, were those plans in keeping with what occurred.?
4. Madame Minister, isn’t your PS on the Board of MBIA, ASG and the GBT and that surely she must have been aware of this inaugural flight and if not whose department or Ministry made arrangements for the “Sunwing” service into Grenada?

Last but not least, Madame Minister, on another issue, please ask your husband to pick up the bush on the side of the road in a timely manner and not when he feels like it at 8 and 10 o'clock at nights.

Well, now to Mr William Joseph – Director of Tourism and Mr.Edwin Frank – Public Relations Officer who were seated quite comfortably in the departure lounge waiting for the "discounted" travel to Canada.

1. Gentlemen, could you explain how you could be in the departure lounge or VIP room for a free flight on “Sunwing” and not go across to the arrival lounge and welcome the officials and passengers of this said inaugural flight?
2. Gentlemen, could you explain why this return flight was not marketed to the Grenadian public to show the flight sponsors our interest in their investment?
3. Gentlemen, your conduct warrants strong disciplinary action.

Ms Lazarus – Marketing who looked straight at the TV cameras and lied to Grenada and the world

Your response to the “Sunwing” boo boo amounted to a number of inaccurate statements and blatant lies.

Mr Richard Strachan – Chairman GBT -- I liked the way he handled the situation, knowing the guy like I do, Ms Lazarus, Edwin Frank and William Joseph would have been sent packing had Mr Strachan has his own way. Having said that I still have to ask:

1. Mr Strachan, can you explain how an event so important and crucial for our industry could have missed your attention?
2. Mr Strachan, can you explain why ASG would have been wrongly accused by the GBT as being responsible for welcoming an inaugural flight which they have never done in the past?
3. Mr Strachan, would you agree that the ball was dropped by everyone, including your minister who just recently returned from London and within days again took off to Angola. Couldn’t our ambassador in Brussels or London attend?.

This has been one big boo boo and the even bigger "boo boo" now is the fact that the Director of Tourism is investigating himself, what a "boo boo", shame and disgrace from a Government who claimed to do everything better than the previous administration..

Paul Gittens
"Airport onlooker"

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