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Opinions of Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Columnist: Young Bajan Lion

SHAME - GIA strands Ghanaians in Barbados

What a big disgrace!


I started this month bursting with pride and happiness when news broke on 1 February that Ghana International Airlines had created history in Barbados by making the first direct flight from Africa to Barbados. So proud was I of the achievement that I rose in solid defense of GIA which came under attack from many skeptical Ghanaians here who cast slurs against the airline's effort.

But tonight I hang my head in shame.

Two weeks after that first inaugural charter flight, GIA on Friday 15 February failed to show up on the planned second flight to Barbados and back, leaving 149 African passengers stranded in Barbados for ANOTHER TWO WEEKS until the next scheduled flight which is supposed to arrive on 29 February. The only solace I could find in the news story was that many of the Africans had deserted the guesthouse where some of them had been staying, and had taken up lodging with various Bajans whom they had met after arriving here. A delay of a day or two is understandable, but to be stranded in a foreign country for TWO WHOLE WEEKS is outrageous. Surely some of those passengers have jobs and other responsibilities waiting for them in West Africa. They paid for TWO WEEKS in the Caribbean and now because of GIA's atrocious bungling they have ended up spending TWO MORE WEEKS in a foreign country with money running low while food and accommodation still have to be found every day. GIA should be SUED for this, and I am sure that some Bajan lawyers would do it for free. There is no way that people should be treated like this.

I strongly commend my Bajan people for reaching out and accepting these Ghanaian and Nigerian strangers (who are our African brothers and sisters) into their homes. But I am very angry with GIA for ruining what should have been a historic and enjoyable visit to our country, because the whole idea of coming to Barbados is to make all visitors feel comfortable and welcome.


They started well and finished badly.

Nuff Respect, Young Bajan.