Britain’s APD response ‘a slap in the face’ for Caribbean

first_img 23 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! NewsRegional Britain’s APD response ‘a slap in the face’ for Caribbean by: – December 7, 2011 Share St Kitts and Nevis Minister of Tourism and International Transportation Ricky Skerritt making a statement in the St Kitts and Nevis National assembly on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Erasmus Williams)BASSETERRE, St Kitts — The British government’s announcement on Tuesday that it will continue to discriminate against the Caribbean in relation to the banding aspect of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) system, has been described as “a slap in the face for all Caribbean people.”In a 26-page document published on Tuesday, the British government said that APD rates to Caribbean destinations will continue to be considerably higher than those to some competitor destinations. Furthermore, the fact that premium economy passengers will continue to be charged the same APD as first class passengers is a blow for those customers wanting to upgradeOver a period of three years, the Caribbean and its community in the UK have consistently sought to raise the issue of APD at all levels of the British government and with the UK parliament. St Kitts and Nevis Minister of Tourism Ricky Skerritt, chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) said: “Today’s announcement on the APD is a slap in the face for all Caribbean people. It dismisses all of the research and information CTO has provided to the British government over the past three years, and it contradicts the message sent by the UK Chancellor, George Osborne MP, in March 2011 when he cited the discrepancy between the USA and Caribbean APD rates as one of the reasons for holding a consultation on reform of UK APD. The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region of the world and the British government’s decision totally ignores the negative effect that APD is having on our economies and the Caribbean’s business partners in the UK travel industry.”“It is a slap in the face of Caribbean people because at no point in recent months has the Caribbean being led to believe that its concerns would not be addressed. As recently as the second week in November I sat face to face with a senior Minister in the United Kingdom Treasury who reassured me that the British government was sensitive to our concerns and would be announcing shortly a decision that would have addressed the issue of parity,” Skerritt continued.“I say it is a slap in the face because the UK government’s announcement in effect says it will continue to discriminate against the Caribbean. It says that APD rates to the Caribbean will be continue to be considerably higher than some competitor destinations,” he said.“It is slap in the face because the Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region in the world and the British government decision totally ignores the negative effect that it is having on our economy,” Skerritt added.Caribbean prime ministers, ministers of tourism, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK, including the High Commissioners, have consistently raised the issue of Air Passenger Duty with the UK government and UK Parliament and the region’s concern about the negative effect that APD is having on the tourism dependent economies of the Caribbean and on the Caribbean community living in the United Kingdom.The region made a formal response to the Air Passenger Duty consultation in June. In summary this made clear that: • The Caribbean requires parity in banding with the US.• A move to a two band system would address the Caribbean’s requirement if this resulted in equal treatment of all long haul destinations. • No other option set out in the consultation addresses the concerns of the Caribbean.• APD has become a political issue with the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK. Skerrit said it is a matter that Caribbean governments would have to raise in the near future with the United Kingdom and hoped the issue would again be raised at the upcoming United Kingdom-Caribbean Forum in mid-January 2012 in Grenada.He said it is a time for the Caribbean to speak out and let the British Government know that we are not happy.“It is a time for Caribbean leaders at all levels to understand that this is about a serious economic matter and this matter will not go away just by wishing it away,” said Skerritt.By Caribbean News Now contributorcenter_img Share Share Tweetlast_img read more

Grinding Gears: Meyer decision doesn’t solve problem

first_imgSeveral days have passed since Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer was given a three-game suspension for his mishandling of domestic abuse allegations against a former assistant coach, a verdict that reflects negatively upon the entire sports world.There was evidence revealed in an investigation conducted by the university that Meyer — who won the national championship at Ohio State in the 2014 season and is up next to Alabama’s Nick Saban among the elite coaches in college football — failed to act in 2015 upon allegations that Zach Smith, the former assistant coach, assaulted his now ex-wife Courtney Smith. There were the lies that Meyer spewed during Big Ten media day in July, when he pretended he knew nothing of Smith’s past, despite his history of questionable behavior. And there was the fact that, as the story went public earlier this month, Meyer asked a staffer how to delete old text messages. Curiously, when investigators went through Meyer’s phone, they found no texts dating back longer than a year. But worst of all, following his suspension last Wednesday, Meyer held a press conference and delivered a pathetic performance. He was unapologetic, unremorseful — seemingly offended that he was even in this situation. He could not even bring himself to mention Courtney Smith’s name or talk about her until near the end of the presser.“I have a message for everyone involved in this,” he said when a reporter finally asked if he had a message for Smith. “I’m sorry that we are in this situation. I’m just sorry we are in this situation.”That was it. On Friday, in the face of public backlash, Meyer finally released a statement online apologizing to Smith and her children. But Wednesday’s presser revealed more about Meyer’s character than an after-the-fact apology. He couldn’t say her name out loud, couldn’t even apologize to her. Instead, he said “we,” like she, the victim, was at fault. It was as if, Smith just had inconvenienced him because he was now facing repercussions for covering up domestic abuse by one of his former employees when there were important football games to prepare for.By slapping Meyer on the wrist with a three-game suspension, Ohio State is sending the message that winning football games is more important than taking the moral high ground. The university had two options for two scenarios with its investigation: Clear him of wrongdoing and not punish him at all, or find fault and fire him. It found fault, and then did nothing. There is no middle ground when it comes to domestic violence or any type of  mistreatment. There is no amount of games — let alone three — that Meyer should miss that will atone for the abuse that Courtney Smith went through, abuse that he took no action to stop.It’s sad is that this comes as no surprise. We have seen this type of story time and time again in sports, where prominent athletes or coaches are given a pass because the value of their contributions to the team supersedes the desire to do right by survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence. This has to change. Brandon McCarthy, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves who is active on social issues, tweeted about the hypocrisy of sports fans who are willing to accept their star players retiring but keep rooting for their favorite player even in the face of negative revelations.“Sports fans are used to the loss of their favorites and are always excited to see what’s next,” McCarthy wrote last Wednesday. “Why doesn’t this apply when their favorites turn out to be bad people?”I am not passing judgement on whether or not Meyer is a bad person. I am saying that based on what we know, he should not be the head football coach at Ohio State. But that is not up to me, or anyone else who thinks this situation is outrageous. It is up to people within the university and determined by the culture surrounding Ohio State. Apparently, the culture of football, of bringing in money from winning games, of satisfying boosters and donors and the fanbase took precedence over showing contrition for a victim. We may never hear Courtney Smith’s name again. But we will hear all about how Meyer’s legacy was tarnished and how the Buckeyes will carry on for three games without their head coach, as if this “adversity” is even in the same stratosphere as what Smith went through.And let’s not pretend for a second that this exact scenario wouldn’t play out the same way at any other big-time college football program. College sports isn’t about doing what is morally right. The NCAA insists on its athletes being amateurs so it can profit off their success. College athletics are about one thing: making money. Urban Meyer does that for Ohio State, so he gets to keep his job. And as a sports fan, that makes me sad. Eric He is a senior majoring in journalism. He is also the managing editor of the Daily Trojan His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Mondays.last_img read more