Antigua and Barbuda appeals for cheaper regional travel

Editorial Staff

May 18, 2023

Outgoing chair of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), Chet Greene, greets new COFCOR chair Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith at the 26th meeting of COFCOR at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew on Tuesday. Greene is Antigua and Barbuda’s minister of foreign affairs. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

Antigua and Barbuda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chet EP Greene has told Caricom member states that the region should be closer than it is now, where addressing the issue of cheaper intra-regional travel is concerned.

He said it is unbelievable that the matter has not been adequately addressed, especially since the region shares the same culture and language

Greene, the outgoing chair of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), appealed at the opening ceremony of the 26th meeting of COFCOR in Jamaica

“Unlike other institutions such as the European Union, we are not landlocked but separated by sea. The pandemic has further exacerbated the issue of affordable regional transportation. To achieve Caricom’s pillars of regional integration, it is necessary for us to address this issue of regional travel with the urgency that is required,” Greene argued.

Greene called for the setting up of workable plans and solutions by respective member states to provide affordable air and maritime travel

“This requires lobbying efforts through the ministries of foreign affairs and overseas missions, friendly nations for developmental assistance,” Greene said.

He said the setting up of an environment that will foster stronger community engagement through improved internal relations is also important in achieving cheaper intra-regional travel

“Through this, we will have a much better Caribbean Community where our people can express their talents and innovative capabilities to further lend to regional development,” he noted.

But Antigua and Barbuda has been at the forefront of calls to address the high travel fees with the government back in 2021, going as far as announcing a temporary 50% reduction in taxes on airline tickets for travel within the region

The Gaston Browne-led administration has also been working to restructure the failed operations of LIAT 1974 Ltd into a more promising LIAT 2020 but the buy-in from CARICOM has not been forthcoming as expected.

However, the race is still on to get regional travel to where it was once as soon as it is possible.


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Antigua and Barbuda