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Group wants cheaper airfares in the Caribbean

A group lobbying for a reduction in taxes and fees on intra-regional Caribbean travel has written to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on behalf of 20,000 persons who have “come together in opposition to the current cost of intra-regional travel and governments’ role in escalating airfares”.

The spokesperson for the group “Citizens Against High Intra-Regional Caribbean Travel Taxes,” Dalano R. DaSouza, said that over the past two weeks, packages containing copies of the petition bearing over 20,000 signatures were dispatched to the offices of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders and the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat.

He said the packages also included a letter to each regional leader “cogently outlining the case for dialogue on the vexing issue of high intra-regional Caribbean travel taxes and fees”.

DaSouza said that to date, only the offices of the President of Guyana, David Granger and the Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, have acknowledged receipt of the communication.

“Accordingly, 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,” DaSouza said.

“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,” DaSouza added.

In a November 7 letter to Prime Minister Gonsalves, the spokesman said that the issue of taxes, fees and charges (TFCs) in air transport has been a source of controversy globally, not least in the Caribbean.

He said that the Caribbean is a unique geographic space heavily dependent on air transportation to support the tourism industry whose contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of CARICOM member States is significant and for some unparalleled.

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