Sunday 15 December, 2019

20,000 CARICOM citizens await response on cheaper airfares

The petition to address high intra-regional travel taxes has been signed, sealed and delivered to all CARICOM Heads of Government.

Now 20,000 citizens in the Caribbean and the Diaspora await a response from the region's leaders on the "vexing issue" of high airfares.

The Citizens Against High Intra-Regional Caribbean Travel Taxes provided an update on the progress of the petition which was delivered in November. 

"To date, only the Offices of the President of Guyana, David Granger and Dr Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada have acknowledged receipt of our communication."

The organization urged Caribbean leaders to put the issue of high travel taxes at the top of their agendas and re-evaluate the current TFC (Taxes, Fees and Charges) regime on intra-regional travel with haste. 

"The Citizens Against High Intra-Regional Caribbean Travel Taxes is calling on the other CARICOM Heads of Government to respond to the petition submitted to their offices. By signing our petition, the people of the region are collectively asking to be heard on the important issue of intra-regional Caribbean travel taxes. We hope that our leaders see it fit to engage with their constituents on this important matter."

Correspondence was sent to the office of Prime Minister, Mia Mottley in early November, outlining how "escalating airfares" were negatively affecting regional travel.

"We believe that our region is at a critical juncture, where over-taxation while meeting airport operational costs is compromising regional development and economic integration for the worse."

The letter to PM Mottley stressed that the organization was not seeking to disrupt the income stream by focusing on travel destined for outside of CARICOM, rather only on travel between CARICOM members. 

"We present cogent arguments clearly demonstrating the benefits of increasing intra-regional travel to CARICOM as a collective and to individual nations. We believe that it also important to emphasise that while it may difficult to disassociate intra-regional travel from the financial performance and sustainability of airlines operating in the space, this campaign is not associated with any airline and their quest for increased passenger volumes and revenue. 

By facilitating CARICOM nationals to travel within the region we can grow each other’s economies while reducing the rate at which foreign currency leaves the region through extra-regional travel."

The petition was first started in May, 2019. 

 

 

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