|Letter: Barbadians are saints compared to SVG|
|Published on October 28, 2013||
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One of the worst airports for rudeness and sheer stupid ignorance is St Vincent’s E.T. Joshua airport.
A few weeks ago an English family arrived at the airport. Retired father and mother, with their 28-year-old daughter. The family was well dressed and well presented obviously a very nice class of persons.
The daughter is training to be a doctor at a British university, she came to SVG for six weeks to get some experience at the Milton Cato Hospital; she had a hospital invitation letter and evidence of staying in a known beachside apartment.
The family was travelling as a group; the parents had decided to come with the daughter to make a holiday of it for themselves. Mum and dad had a return ticket; the daughter had a whole bunch of money, several credit cards and a British passport. The daughter had air tickets reading London, Barbados, SVG, Grenada, London. The immigration said she had to have a ticket that showed her departing SVG, her tickets showed her leaving Grenada. The explanation was that she was taking a trip through the Grenadines by ferry services [which is not pre-bookable] then on to Grenada from the end destination of Carriacou. The immigration would not accept that explanation, no ifs, no buts, no ticket departing SVG, then entry could not be allowed into SVG and she and the family would have to leave. The alternative was for the girl to buy a ticket. So in the end, after three hours and threatening the parents with the police, the girl brought a ticket that said SVG-Grenada.
Now what this meant was that this very charming young adult daughter, cancelled her once in a lifetime trip through the islands, a great disappointment, loss of revenue for the ferries and loss of revenue for the hotels had she stopped at various islands on her way to Grenada.
The damage done to SVG is unending; she has said that when she gets back to her university, she will notify the students union that SVG immigration is unfriendly and not a place they should visit.
Whilst she was in SVG she was pestered by men making crude and sexually rude comments to her as she walked through Kingstown. Do Vincentian men think such disgusting behaviour would impress any woman, never mind a visitor?
The parents went and stayed in Bequia and they were robbed in the middle of the night whilst in bed by a burglar. The police then to add insult to injury made them pay for a written report. The robber was caught later the same night, but not all those items stolen were returned. It cost these people a day of their holiday to come to the mainland to get a police report, and the police report cost as much as the missing items.
Can you imagine how much future tourist revenue has been lost by ignorant immigration officers? How many times can we multiply this by, how often does this happen?
The family ate in restaurants whilst they were in SVG; that’s where I met them and got the information from. Hundreds of people during their stay heard the story, people off boats, tourists, business travellers, local business men, and at least one ULP MP.
One act of stupidity can undo Vincentian advertising fees of $250,000 or more in a moment. Multiply that by hundreds of incidents and we are wasting our annual advertising budget. We may as well just give up, stop building the airport and all continue as we have always been, because we are just not ready yet as a tourist destination.
Some people think Barbados is bad; it's nowhere near as bad as SVG, land of king ‘Wun-Phatt-Pratt.
Ignorance is contagious; it spreads from the top and eventually reaches the bottom.
Self appointed keeper of the whistle
here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!
Edward of The OECS:
Peter, that's a very low blow, how low and dirty can you go?
Your fear that tourists will chose to transit in SVG when their international airport is operational is definitely showing by you preemptively trying to destroy SVG.
You are a genuine crab in a barrel, and your likes have been the biggest problem in the Caribbean for many decades.
For the records, the OECS is twice your (Barbados') population with nine states, we have economies of scale and our diaspora is huge. We take offence by you and your likes constantly looking down on us. BTW, I am not Vincentian, but I am of the OECS. "All for one, and one for all."
I find the story very informative. It does indeed point out the stupidity of some island laws. It points out the inability of some customs people to reason & logic. If it were me I would have invited them to call in the police. Make a public scene for all others to see. It seems no island in the Caribbean basin have same & consistent immigration policies. Seems to me Caricom needs to look at that & implement changes. A good example of that is arriving in St. Kitts vers Nevis (same sister island & Federal government) BUT in St. Kitts you are not held in line for suitcase searches for unlimited time but in Nevis you are. Almost all countries I've visited, you present your passport or papers & you are done. My personal opinion is I think customs people get a kick out of looking through personal items. The drugs & guns on the street aren't carried in via air. Time to get with the times.
Peter try entering the USA with the very same story, but of course that will be okay with you. You are supposed to have a return ticket. This person came from Britain and not in the Caribbean.
Peter, I regret that British family's traumatizing experiences. I have encountered some silly and sometimes disgusting behaviours while travelling in our OECS sub-region, AS WELL AS IN BARBADOS.
Bear in mind that many of these guys are bureaucrats, with trainings that often miss commonsense and good customer relations.
My two most disgusting encounters, though, were with private business employees, AIRLINE functionaries [American Airlines airport minions in Antiqua and LIAT airport minions in St. Vincent, more recently]. These, my particular circumstances, were exceptionally DISAPPOINTING to me, as I have been on record publicly proclaiming that I have freely given LIAT thousands of dollars of free publicity in SVG and the Eastern Caribbean, and, in the case of Antiqua I have always held them especially dear to my heart as my first direct traceable ancestors actually settled there. What a LET-DOWN these experiences were for me, a die-hard, proud, perennial WEST INDIAN patriot and nationalist. NOW, what sharper hurts these highly unnecessarily harsh experiences would cause ENGLISH natives?
Peter, I feel that we need to not let our traditional welcoming standards drop, BUT RATHER engage in much more, and BETTER, public relations and good customer relations in our SVG and the entire CARICOM. We simply cannot afford to lose our marvelous material saving-grace that is Caribbean tourism. The vision-less political actors have near-totally destroyed our regional agriculture, and are hell-bent on hamstringing our struggling industries. Imagine how CRAPPO go relish SMOKE WE PIPE, if we should lose the tourist dollar...
Edward, you seem a bit familiar - - - perhaps Mr. 'WILLY' of some Anderson fame, now with an 'OECS' moniker? However, I think that soberly we need to urgently investigate these reported experiences of this English student and English family, with a view to ascertaining the facts and rendering the more than adequate FULL COMPENSATION and abject apologies. These things DO happen, in our 21st Century CARIBBEAN, a rightly adulated tourist mecca on this still good earth.
IT WOULD DO MORE HARM, HURT AND DAMAGE TO SVG, OECS AND CARICOM TOURISM if we should CALLOUSLY IGNORE AND IMPERIOUSLY DISMISS these reported charges and COMPLAINTS OF MISTREATMENT.
IT would do us GREAT GOOD and BENEFIT US TREMENDOUSLY should WE LISTEN, PAY ATTENTION, SHOW TOTAL CONCERN, AND MAKE COMPLETE AMENDS. We ought to endeavor, instead, to WIN OVER THIS PARTICULAR VISITING FAMILY TO OUR ONCE TRADITIONAL WARM WEST INDIAN HOSPITALITY.
WHAT a fillip it would give to OECS AND WEST INDIAN TOURISM if one or more of our BUSINESS PLACES and our SVG Government should locate these family members and freely grant them full reimbursement and/or A FREE RETURN TRIP with premiere VIP treatment throughout.
IMAGINE the fabulous extent of PUBLICITY that we could readily GAIN from all that.
But, I guess we don't have that level of magnaminity and big-heartedness these days, in our OECS.
In SVG, the people are increasingly ON THE ROAD TO A PLACE CALLED "PERISH" - - - due to mushrooming LACK OF VISION in and among our civic and political leaders - - - readily copied and modeled by their subordinates.
Could you quickly quantify the MASSIVE TOURISM/BUSINESS GOODWILL that would result and the RESULTANT INFLUX OF ADDITIONAL CURRENCY to our sub-region?
But, I guess we done PASS THAT STAGE OF MAGNANIMOUS HOSPITALITY that SVG and the Eastern Caribbean were once so wonderfully note for.
Are those days GONE FOREVER?
WHAT would that eventually mean for us in the region?
That was a great piece by Nevis Reader. How are my people in Gingerland, Nevis? I can't help musing about this land, which was also the birthplace of ALEXANDER HAMILTON (c. 1755-1804), that great, remarkable, American FOUNDING FATHER AND STATESMAN - - - such an accomplished writer and original thinker.
Don't we have FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT in the Windward Islands and the ORGANIZATION OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES????!!!