The national airline of The Bahamas, Bahamasair, has dismissed as untrue, a statement by former prime minister Dr. Hubert Minnis that “millions of dollars have disappeared from travel agents and baggage handlers in Haiti.”
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Minnis told legislators that “millions of Bahamian taxpayer money has disappeared and they have remained quiet.
“Where has the money gone?” he asked.
But the airline’s managing director, Tracy Cooper said Minnis’ assertion that a significant amount of money is missing in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, is “not true”, noting that Bahamasair had suspended services to Port-au-Prince and Cape Haitian, Haiti, during the pandemic.
“During this period, certain administrative and reconciliation issues occurred within the company that provided handling and representation services for Bahamasair in Haiti,” Cooper said in a statement, adding “as a result, funds related to sale within Haiti were deposited into the bank of Haiti once service resumed.
“There is an amount in the US$530,000 range in deposits made in the bank for Bahamasair by our handling agent in Haiti due to ticket sales. This amount is now reconciled and there is no dispute regarding funds owed.”
Cooper said the airline “anticipated that these arrears will be received shortly in the normal course of business” and the national airline is also reconciling a difference of an estimated US$38,000 in bags and other fees, which the airline expects to have completed in short order.
“The above constitute the complete reconciliation process for the airline’s affairs in Haiti relating to our handlers and we reiterate that this is purely an administrative matter,” Cooper said, noting “Bahamasair has also once again suspended flights to Port-au-Prince, Haiti due to security concerns.
“The public may be aware that our diplomatic staff was also ordered to leave Haiti amid the instability there. It is noted, however, the regular flight rotations (Tuesday/Saturdays) remain to Cape Haitian, Haiti,” Cooper said, adding “the decision to suspend flights into Port-au-Prince is by no means predicated on any financial matters”.