January 2, 2009
Vincentians stranded in Trinidad

Stranded at the Piarco International Airport when she should be in the arms of loved ones in St Vincent, a Vincentian woman living in Canada is hoping that the Argyle International Airport would put an end to the horror that she faced this Christmas.{{more}}

As tears streamed down her face and she leaned on the service counter at the Trinidad airport, with a look of resignation plastered where Christmas joy and hope should have been, Loretta John related her story to SEARCHLIGHT.

John, an administrative assistant with the Canadian government, was on her way to St Vincent, for her usual visit every three years.

She left Toronto on Caribbean Airways (formerly BWIA) at around 1:35am on Sunday, December 21, after her flight, which was scheduled to leave at 11:15pm on Saturday, December 20, was delayed.

John told SEARCHLIGHT that she and several others were supposed to catch their connecting LIAT flight at 8:30am.

“When we were on the flight to Trinidad, we were assured by our flight attendant that they had communicated with LIAT so that they would know we were on our way,” she explained.

However, while John was going through her drama, many LIAT passengers, including this SEARCHLIGHT reporter, were experiencing lengthy delays, lost luggage for days, which LIAT said was due to industrial action taken by the Antigua and Barbuda air traffic controllers.

So when John and the others arrived at the LIAT counter at Piarco at around 8:00 a.m., they were told that their space had already been taken.

Persons who were stranded because of cancelled flights the day before were accommodated in their stead.

“When we go to CA (Caribbean Airways) they sending us to LIAT and LIAT sending us to CA, nobody wants to assist us,” John said, as a fresh stream of tears gushed down her already tear-soaked face.

“There is no communication. Everybody just ignoring us,” John said.

She told SEARCHLIGHT that she and other passengers in the same situation who were on her flight from Canada were told by LIAT that they couldn’t say when they would be able to get on a flight to St Vincent.

John said that she is really looking forward to seeing the completion of the Argyle International Airport, once it is going to cut down on this type of drama with connecting flights.

Among those caught in

the same predicament were siblings, Violet and Christopher Cadougan, who were on their way home to visit with their 102-year-old mother, Maude.