The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) has come under fire from Saint Lucia Civil Aviation Minister, Guy Joseph.
Joseph said the organisation operates as an entity unto itself.
“The issues with ECCAA particularly are of concern to us,” Joseph told a press briefing Monday.
He disclosed that while Saint Lucia is not in receipt of all the official communication, it is understood that this country has been downgraded from category one to a category two.
The minister explained that this has implications for airlines coming to Saint Lucia.
“When you are a category two it has implications for the cost of the insurance of the airlines coming here,” Joseph told reporters.
He asserted that while this country is on a growth path in terms of the number of airlines visiting and stay over visitors, ECCAA continues to operate as if it is a power unto itself.
According to Joseph, ECCAA does not consider that Saint Lucia has sourced out its requirements for civil aviation to them and they are acting on behalf of the state.
He asserted that the state still retains its rights.
“The way we interpret what is happening is that ECCAA is coming across as if it is the entity unto itself – it’s the power by itself,” Joseph declared.
“Recently we understood there was an issue with Saint Vincent,” he disclosed.
Joseph said Saint Lucia has been trying to convene a meeting of all OECS Civil Aviation Ministers to see if at that level, an update can be obtained.
He made it clear he would not speculate about the reason for Saint Lucia’s downgrade.
“But when I look at what is there, you will have to fail some basic tests – whether it be security, safety or something, to be downgraded and because ECCAA is downgraded, every country under ECCAA is downgraded,” the Saint Lucia minister told reporters.
“So whether we met all of the requirements and one person was in breach, that caused the downgrade, it affects all of us in the process,” Joseph noted.
He recalled that Saint Lucia has raised the issue in the past.