CARICOM countries sign multilateral air services agreement

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Several CARICOM Member States including Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, have signed the Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA), aimed at expanding the scope for airlines owned by CARICOM nations to provide air services throughout the Community. The declaration of intent to provisionally apply the Multilateral Air Services Agreement was signed by Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

According to a communique issued at the conclusion of the 30thIntersessional meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Heads “met in Special Session on Transportation in keeping with their quest to deliver adequate, fair, competitive, efficient transportation services at affordable costs.”

It was noted that MASA had been opened for signature in February 2018. The Heads acknowledged that the agreement by all Member States to the MASA would give effect to the Community becoming a liberalised environment for CARICOM Air carriers.

Member States, who had not signed and ratified the Agreement, were urged to do so. Nine countries have now signed the MASA allowing provisional application.

The Heads of Government also agreed that Member States should “undertake a review of their domestic taxes and other charges related to the air transportation sector, with a view to rationalising the relevant tax structures as deemed appropriate by Member States’ Ministries of Finance.”

In terms of maritime travel, the Heads agreed to establish a joint private and public sector team to “review the findings and recommendations of reports on a regional ferry service. The team has been requested to provide preliminary estimates for the implementation of ferry services following discussions and negotiation with prospective ferry operators.”

It was also agreed by the Heads of Government that the Directors of Maritime Affairs of each Member State should “meet regularly with the intention of coordinating and presenting a holistic approach to addressing the maritime safety and security issues of the Community.”

The Heads further agreed that the Regional Transportation Commission (RTRC) and its programmes be restructured to enable greater efficiency.

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