BACK TO WORK
Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: Striking fuel attendants at V.C. Bird International Airport returned to work Monday evening, after two days of industrial action.
The workers, who are employed by the U.S. company Chevron, staged a sick out over severance pay and other issues on the weekend.
In January, the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU), which represents the employees, had threatened industrial action if the Chevron workers at the airport were not paid severance by February 1.
Chevron is reported to be in the process of selling its fuels marketing and aviation businesses in the English and French-speaking Caribbean to a French entity.
Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Tourism officials in St. Vincent are worried about proposed increases to regional airport taxes coupled with the recently increased British air passenger departure tax.
St. Vincent does not have an international airport and the country relies on Barbados as a hub.
Vice president of the St. Vincent Hotel and Tourism Association, Vera Ann Brereton, says the combination of the two increases, plus high regional airfares, could have a devastating effect on the local tourism industry.
She says this situation could put St. Vincent and the Grenadines “in a precarious position”.
LEAVING FOR EUROPE
Miami, USA: The Caribbean cruise tourism industry has been dealt a major blow after a cruise liner announced it is pulling its ship out of the region next year.
Royal Caribbean International says that it will reposition its operations from the Caribbean to Europe in the summer of 2012.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) says it understands that repositioning is a normal course of business within the cruise sector, particularly during the summer months.
However, the CTO is worried about how this will impact the already struggling summer cruise business in the region.
The organization says it is already taking measures to ensure that the Caribbean remains a highly desirable cruising destination.
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Twenty-six year-old Karene Asche was crowned the 2011 Calypso Monarch at Carnival last Sunday, netting a prize of TT$2 million – just under US$316,000.
Her winning songs were ‘Be Careful What You Ask For’ and ‘Uncle Jack’ – a satirical commentary on the well-known Minister of Transport and FIFA vice president Jack Warner.
Asche beat out veterans Sugar Aloes and Chalkdust, who placed second and third, respectively.
The day before Asche’s victory, Machel Montano won the soca monarch contest. He also received TT$2 million.