Author: Hon Paul J, Lewis | Date: 03 June 2020
Dear Hon Premier,
Fly Montserrat has occupied a large part of the national conversation in recent months, as it relates to matters of that airline’s safety in transporting passengers to and from Montserrat.
A report was recently issued by UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), on the September 2019 Fly Montserrat incident at the John A. Osborne Airport. In response to this Report, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour, under whose portfolio the John A. Osborne Airport falls, stated that the Government has 90 days to respond.
Hon Premier, who within your Administration will be leading the response on the UK AAIB Report into Fly Montserrat? Will it be the Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour or will it be The Office of the Premier? We require clarity on this.In addition, it is noticeable that the UK AAIB Report, made no recommendation or even mention of establishing a Twin Otter service as a measure to mitigate against safety concerns with the Airport’s short runway. It is widely known that the John A. Osborne Airport was designed primarily for the use of Twin Otter type aircraft to service Montserrat. The Twin Otter aircraft is also known throughout the world to be able to handle, with ease, short runways for both landing and take-off functions, such as what we have at the John A. Osborne Airport.
Hon Premier, in the Government of Montserrat’s response to the UK AAIB Report, will you therefore be highlighting the need for a Twin Otter service to be established to service the Montserrat route to help allay safety concerns, instead of the present reliance on the islander type aircrafts?
Another matter of concern took place during a recent media appearance, where the CEO of Fly Montserrat, Mr Nigel Harris, revealed that the Minister of Communication, Works Energy and Labour, Hon Dr Samuel Joseph has attended several Fly Montserrat Board Meetings.
Were you aware Hon Premier, that one of your Ministers who sits in Cabinet has been attending Fly Montserrat’s Board Meetings? Or was this an instance of the Minister doing his own thing?
In addition, there is a direct conflict of interest with Hon Dr Samuel Joseph attending Fly Montserrat’s Board Meetings whilst at the same time, he sits in Cabinet helping to decide on matters to do with Government of Montserrat’s relationship with Fly Montserrat in the form of subsidies paid to that airline. Mr Harris himself pointed out in his interview, that Hon Dr Joseph’s attendance at these Board Meetings represents a direct conflict of interest.
The question begs, Hon Premier, as to whose interest Hon Dr Joseph represents when he attends Fly Montserrat’s Board Meetings? Is it the people and Government of Montserrat or his own personal interests?
Hon Premier, do you consider this good judgement from Hon Joseph?
Furthermore, I am asking you Hon Premier, to give to the public some clarity as to whether there is a Representative within Fly Montserrat’s management structure who represents the Government of Montserrat’s shares in that airline. If there is none, when do you plan to ensure that one is put in place?
Notwithstanding that the Government of Monserrat has 90 days to respond to the UK AAIB Report into Fly Montserrat, can you inform the public if your Government will be playing it down to the wire, or will you present your response much sooner, given the high level of public concern over Fly Montserrat’s safety record?
Hon Paul Lewis
Leader of The Opposition