BVI News

BVI suspending airline for policy breach was to ‘send a strong message’

Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley has said the recent suspension placed on regional airline, OCL Barbados is a clear statement to all airlines that the territory is taking its COVID-19 protocols very seriously.

The airline was embargoed from flying to the BVI days ago after reportedly breaching one of the territory’s recently-implemented entry policies.

The policy for which OCL Barbados is accused of breaching falls under the BVI’s Advanced Passenger Information Act.

It requires all airlines arriving in the territory to provide information on its passengers at least 24 hours prior to their arrival.

“My understanding is it (the airline’s advanced passenger information) came under 24 hours’ notice. You cannot do that. We can’t afford the risk of having COVID rampant throughout the BVI,” the minister explained.

“We had to send a strong message to persons that we are very serious about keeping the BVI safe,” he added.

The airline’s Foreign Operator’s Permit (FOP) to fly to the BVI was indefinitely suspended after an August 4 flight into the BVI.

Last-minute change to blame

According to Chief Executive Officer of OCL Barbados, Reginald Adams, a last-minute change in the BVI’s protocols contributed to his airline’s breach.

“Tortola changed their protocol on a Saturday and we were not updated as to the change,” Adams told a media house in St Vincent where the airline is based.

He said the flight proceeded to the BVI the following Monday unaware of the change. It was carrying three BVI government employees at the time.

However, due to the changes of the protocols, one of the three passengers were not accepted into the territory and therefore had to return to their place of departure.

According to the new policy, all passengers are to be in possession of a valid travel certificate issued by the Ministry of Health confirming that they are safe to enter into the BVI.

Suspension lifted following appeal

CEO Adams said that following investigations into the matter, it was concluded that there was no intent on the airline’s part to break the BVI’s COVID-19 protocols.

He said he received an official letter from local authorities on Sunday, August 23, indicating that the suspension was lifted.

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10 Comments

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  1. Goodluckcharlie says:

    It’s time to stop playing with God’s people or the consequences will be dire.

    Like 3
    Dislike 6
  2. Just my 2 cents says:

    Thought that it would have been easily overturned on appeal and rightly so.

    Too many policies in the BVI that contravenes basic human rights and international conventions. Policies are inconsistent, blatantly discriminatory, biased, made/gazetted in the dead of night, etc., just to name a few.

    Long Live One Caribbean!

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  3. The whole truth says:

    As reported by Searchlight https://searchlight.vc/searchlight/front-page/2020/08/25/bvi-lifts-suspension-on-one-caribbean-airlines/

    “The suspension preventing One Caribbean Airlines’ flights to the Virgin Islands has been lifted following the conclusion that there was no intent on the airline’s part to break COVID-19 protocols…

    Previously, the British Virgin Islands Airport Authority (BVIAA) had issued a notice stating that One Caribbean’s Foreign Operator’s Permit (FOP) was indefinitely suspended following a flight landing at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on August 4, without the necessary requirements.

    It was stated that this essentially means that the airline would not be allowed into the Territory during the period of suspension.

    The Virgin Islands News Online reported on Saturday, August 22, that as part of the entry requirements, the Government protocols outline that there should be 24 hours’ notice of all passengers on board the aircrafts approved to arrive in the territory.

    “Any violation of the Government or the Authority’s protocols will not be taken lightly, as the wellbeing of our residents and citizens, our internal economy and the successful rebound of our economy post-COVID-19 is reliant on our ability to keep the BVI COVID-19 free,” the Managing Director of the BVIAA, Clive Smith, was quoted as saying.

    Yesterday, August 24, CEO Adams explained that One Caribbean has been operating flights to the islands, including Tortola, Cuba, Santo Domingo, Dominica, St Vincent, Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, Trinidad, during the time of COVID-19.

    He said that all of the countries update their protocols weekly, and “we’ve been having to operate on all these islands and track all the protocols as they change.”

    “Tortola changed their protocol on a Saturday and we were not updated as to the change,” Adams noted. Among the passengers on the One Caribbean flight that operated the Monday following this change, were three employees of the Tortola Government, which the Airline had permission for. However, due to the protocol change one of these employees was not accepted and had to return.

    One Caribbean maintains that there was no notice of a change of protocol; such was not able to be provided, and following their objection to the suspension, and putting forward of a defense, the suspension had now been lifted.”

  4. JUST STAY AWAY says:

    IF IT WAS ME I WOULD NOT COME BACK AT ALL . DONT DO BUSINESS WITH UNREASONNABLE PEOPLE . THEY NEED YOU JUST LIKE YOU NEED THEM .

  5. Caribbean people says:

    I wonder what hatred they have in their heart for Caribbean people, Ayo is Caribbean people too, so you’re only destroying yourself fighting Caribbean people, they will never do it to an airline coming from the us

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  6. All about Power. says:

    “Power doesn’t mean anything if we can’t help people” That should be the VIP theme and or mission statement..

  7. Seen says:

    Only the plane they can send strong message to ..send strong message to your own people,so they will stop bring COVID to innocent people.

  8. Wow says:

    Poor case of communication that the problem. That is how departments operate . Right hand don’t communicate to left hence this tirade

  9. @Seen says:

    Thank u!!! Meanwhile ppl steady smuggling in to the country putting everybody at risk including each & every one of those government minister

  10. Outsider Looking In says:

    Father, forgive the BVI government for they know not what they are doing.

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