Tue | Jan 22, 2019

Letter of the Day: Airspace safety negligence a damn disgrace

Published:Saturday | January 30, 2016 | 12:00 AM


"Knowing what you know, would you appear in a court of law right now and say Jamaica's airspace is safe, without fear of committing perjury (telling a lie under oath)?"

That was the last question I put to two seasoned air traffic controllers this morning on The Morning Watch on LOVE 101FM (7:30 a.m. - 8 a.m.).

Both men said they could not. I apologised to them before and after asking the question because they had outlined the faulty, degraded and old equipment they were forced to work with by successive governments. What really irritated me, I told them, after probing them for about half an hour, was that the despicable excuses for government in our country (Jamaica Labour Party and People's National Party alike) hold over the heads of air traffic controllers legal notions (like essential services clauses and associated penalties) while refusing to indemnify them in law against any accident or tragedy that resulted from the malfunctioning of veritably worthless equipment that they have been forced to work with while being required to heed international standards of safety.

We all had a good laugh when I told them that my left eye is right now defective, but none of my ophthalmologists would be allowed the luxury of telling me that their main surgical equipment is down so they are going to have to do surgery on my eye with a razor blade. One swift kick and I am feeling my way out of that room.

The bottom line which the men politely and diplomatically tried to avoid saying until my last question is this: Owing to damnable governmental negligence since at least 2011 (when Mike Henry says he, as portfolio minister, became aware of the grave nature of the air traffic controllers' plight), Jamaica's airspace safety has been compromised and it is now unsafe to fly into Jamaica's airspace.

A damn disgrace if you ask me, but we can pilot a bill to increase campaign financing (kmt).