Pilot James Lynch: Barbados will not achieve ICAO Category One

“PM Stuart and Minister Sealy are both leading aviation in Barbados into hell in a handbasket…

I hate to see a once-thriving country stagger to its knees because EVERYTHING is at the very apex of mediocrity…”

PM Freundel Stuart
Minister Richard Sealy


by James Lynch, Twotter pilot extraordinaire!

by James Lynch, Twotter pilot extraordinaire!

I am advised by an inside source that the current Director of Civil Aviation, Mitchison Beckles, will be retiring within months, and my informant understands that his successor has already been chosen (and will be yet another career Air Traffic Controller).

About 1970 I was an Air Traffic Controller in Barbados for two years and worked with Mitchie Beckles (I went on to become a charter and airline pilot, among other things). He was professional and competent, but he did not – and still does not – have the wider world’s breadth of qualifications, knowledge and experience to be a Director of Civil Aviation to deal at a high level with every aspect of that office, including dealing with commercial aviation.

The same can be said of all of the Directors of Civil Aviation in Barbados for the last four decades, starting with Clyde Outram… Barbados has experienced one former career Air Traffic Controller / incompetent Director of Civil Aviation after another, but yet I understand that – despite recently failing the ICAO Category One competence evaluation again – it is government policy to continue doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Do you ever learn anything? Do you really want ICAO Category One? Because THIS is not the way to go about achieving that objective.

And this appointment is not from lack of other qualified Barbadians… as someone with almost 40 years in a wide range of aviation situations I have myself tried for the same position over the last 15 years and have been unable to even apply – because no vacancy was ever advertised, and each time yet another Air Traffic Controller was appointed.

I also know other qualified Barbadians who are interested – but who have also never seen a vacancy advertised.  No Sour Grapes

This is not sour grapes on my part – I know that by speaking out I will never be offered the opportunity – but what appears to be a steadfast course by the Barbados government to maintain a steady flow of incompetence in governance. This has manifested itself in the repeated ICAO Category Two (lack of competence and qualified personnel in country regulation, inspection and oversight), the impending demise of LIAT (led by incompetent Barbados and incompetent Barbadians, with massive and unsustainable annual losses), strikes (incompetence in dealing with or managing workforces), Barbados going from the most advanced island in the EC to the most incompetent, the loss of control by the governing party – and of course you may read the newspaper daily to list all the other on-going problems.

Minister Sealy, you boast of building new quarters for the CAA, but so far as I know there is still no competent CAA legislation in place – just a small part of why there is no Category One. No legislation = no CAA. But in the meantime you will still appoint yet another Air Traffic Controller, who will of course rise to his own level of incompetence as Director.

Do you have no intention to raise the standards in aviation in Barbados?

What has happened to intelligence, competence and common sense in my country over the last 30 years? Does NOBODY care any more? Do NO higher standards exist or remain?

Barbados also has a former elected Antiguan national who was Aviation Minister in Lester Bird’s Antigua government (Osmond Lake) who is and has been working as an Inspector at the Directorate of Civil Aviation – which is an Official Secrets Act position.

Is that even legal? And was that position advertised for Barbadians before it was given to an Antiguan politician? Do born Barbadians even have any precedence or priority now under your administration?

I also understand there are planes to spend many more hundreds of millions by 2018 on the airport’s “Master Plan”. I assume you have some idea where all that money is coming from? With the IMF on the ground and talk of devaluation is Barbados not almost bankrupt already?

And I assume you have not forgotten that at year-end LIAT will require another $120 million from Barbados just to keep going?

Gentlemen, you are both leading aviation in Barbados into hell in a handbasket. I no longer live in Barbados, so I should really no longer give a damn, but Barbados is where I come from and I hate to see a once-thriving country stagger to its knees because it certainly appears that EVERYTHING is now “good enough for government work” and at the very apex of mediocrity.

As a consultant I am currently involved in several airline and ancillary ventures, and I can tell you Barbados is occasionally brought up – and turned down every time – in discussion. This is not just because of REDjet, but because the red tape and incompetence are so well known globally and nobody wants to waste their time and money even discussing it.

I beg you to change your mediocre and political ways and make Barbados the glowing standard of the eastern Caribbean again.

I know I will not receive an acknowledgement (far less a reply) to this email, but I also know that when I see nonsense going on I have to say something – and now I have said it.

Best wishes,

James C. “Jim” Lynch (Capt.)

(Former airline pilot, now retired)



Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

4 responses to “Pilot James Lynch: Barbados will not achieve ICAO Category One

  1. Anonymous

    Captain Lynch, do you really expect any thing better from either Party that runs Barbados ? Both of them are the know all’s, I call them the untouchables. All Barbados can do now is a lot of praying and even that ain’t going to help us.

  2. Anonymous

    So sad to read this and it is what many have been thinking for a long time We are but past holidaymakers as we can no longer afford to visit this beautiful island which we still think of as our second home. As this gentleman says,change or perish. TW England UK

  3. Anonymous

    Nothing will change because we slavishly tribalize behind political parties as you have expertly done.

  4. James Lynch

    July 23 – never did get a reply from either Stuart or Sealy. As expected.