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 Bahamas Commentary

2004-12-15 21:06:50

Never Plant Your Corn With Bahamasair Rain

After sitting on what is supposed to be a new plane for about 45 minutes, the pilot then instructed all passengers to disembark the aircraft as he was unable to start the right engine.

One of the things that I always enjoy and look forward to whenever I am in Freeport is the Sunday morning service at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church under the directives of Monsignor Ambrose Mckinnon. This is usually a lively, festive and accommodating occasion for both locals and visitors alike. In particular, I enjoy the homilies given by Deacon Nixon Lindor.

Deacon Lindor possesses a unique talent to relate his personal experiences with biblical teachings as it applies to events happening around us.

This past Sunday was no exception. Deacon Lindor shared his experience from the day before while traveling from Nassau to Freeport on the nation's national airline, Bahamasair. Deacon Lindor indicated that the situation at the Bahamasair waiting room could only be described as "chaotic" as there was a great uncertainty as to when flights were departing. Ironically, for Deacon Lindor's benefit, Bahamasair is the official airline of the good Lord, because only the good Lord knows when Bahamasair is coming or going.

Yet, despite strong expressions of disgust with Bahamasair by a number of other Bahamasair passengers, Deacon Lindor is a man of great spiritual discipline who rather than get involved in the "ruckus", he retreated quietly and took comfort by indulging in one of the faith related books that he always seem to have with him.

Deacon Lindor's only interruption came from a visitor from South Africa who was trying to get to Harbour Island.  She had commented on the book that Deacon Lindor was reading.   After exchanging their respective opinions on the book, along with some other social issues, their conversation quickly changed to the quality of service at Bahamasair. Being a visitor, the lady was not familiar as to how adventurous a simple trip on Bahamasair can be.

Or why some affectionately refer to Bahamasair as "Banana-air".

With such stories, most Bahamians can readily identify with some problem they have had with Bahamasair. Persons such as myself over the past twenty years have been begging the government of the Bahamas to either significantly improve the service and attitude at Bahamasair, or do the sensible thing and get rid of it!   

However, while listening to Deacon Lindor recant his ordeal at Bahamasair, I had absolutely no idea that within twenty-four hours, my lifelong nightmare of trials and tribulations with Bahamasair would continue. The next day, Monday December 6th 2004, I was scheduled to fly to my beloved Briland on the 1PM flight to Nassau ongoing to North Eleuthera at 3:30 PM.

After sitting on what is supposed to be a new plane for about 45 minutes, the pilot then instructed all passengers to disembark the aircraft as he was unable to start the right engine. They had no idea what the problem was or when the engine would be fixed. As we got back to the Bahamasair counter, I was shocked to overhear two Bahamasair agents commenting that the old planes are more dependable than the new ones. How can this be?

Just a couple of weeks ago, big mouth Mr Bradley Roberts, the minister responsible for Bahamasair was bragging about the good deal on two "new" planes for Bahamasair. I am not certain who had advised Minister Roberts, but this was no good deal as my plane couldn't fly.

To make matters worse, after waiting for several hours in the terminal, it was obvious that this plane wasn't going anywhere.   By 3:30PM, it was obvious that I would be missing my connecting flight to North Eleuthera.

This was the most hurtful and frustrating position that I found myself in and feeling so helpless.  You see, this trip was literally planned a year ago. I am an executive committee member for the Harbour Island Commonage and I was scheduled to attend the Association's annual meeting and then return to Freeport and finally the USA the next day. Once I had missed my flight, the question of another flight or a flight at a later date was out of the question. Once again, Bahamasair had succeeded in screwing up what I thought was a well planned out event. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. Irrespective of my financial loss and inconvenience, the fact that people were depending on me to attend that meeting makes me feel as if I had let them down. My mother always advised me to "never plant your corn with Bahamasair rain!"

Two recent editorials in the Tribune indicated a concern about air safety in the Bahamas in the wake of two crashes this year. Is the Ministry of Transport and Aviation properly regulating air travel within the best interest of the public?  Secondly, the price of traveling on Bahamas is skyrocketing. Can you imagine spending $100 for an excess bag? This is outrageous! The Bahamian taxpayer is  paying through the nose to subsidize Bahamasair.  Now, they must pay a ridiculously high cost to travel as well.

The politicians including Minister Roberts are talking about expanding the routes to include additional destinations. With such limited back up equipment and difficulties servicing  what routes they already have, any talk promoting Bahamasair expansion at this time in short is pure foolishness!!  In their manifesto "Our Plan", the PLP government promised that they will maintain a Bahamasair that the "staff, public and shareholders will be proud of", but this vote of confidence  still has to be earned by Bahamasair.The good Lord knows that I have had enough of Bahamasair. Open the airways to all, albeit American, Delta, Western, Flamingo Air, Cat Island Air.....whoever can get the job done and not leave people stranded and frustrated.

Dr.Leatendore Percentie, D.D.S
Boston, Massachusetts
December 9th, 2004

 
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