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President chavez visits Dominica Photo by Daylife

There is an ongoing debate among Dominicans and Airline Passengers as to whether or not it was good judgment by the Government deciding on closing the airports in Dominica to facilitate the visit of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on Saturday June 13,2009.

The closure resulted in many Dominicans as well as visitors were stranded – wondering what was going on before any word was given that their flights had been canceled due to security precaution for the visit of Venezuelan President Chavez.

Honourable Vince Henderson Minister for Foreign Affairs spoke on the Hot Seat this morning and stated that an apology had been issued Saturday afternoon on behalf of the government to those affected by the cancellation of Airline flights. He further stated that government will compensate those affected by the closure and will meet the overnight expenses of LIAT customers stranded in Antigua and Barbados.

But many Dominicans did not accept the explanation coming from the Minister, and thinks that closing the Airports was purely bad judgment on the governments part.

Question:Do you think closing the Airports was excessive and totally unnecessary? Have your say in the comments below.

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5 Comments »

Comment by Joel Halfwassen Subscribed to comments via email
2009-06-17 14:58:33

Having just worked on an event involving the President of the United States I can say with authority that there is no reason that advanced warning could not have been given to all airlines and passengers of the closure. In addition, I question the need to have the airport closed for the ENTIRE time AND on a Saturday which is historically one of the busiest times to travel.

It is important to meet the security needs of visiting foreign dignitaries and heads of state, however, it should NEVER come at the cost of your own economic well being. As we discussed in a previous blog Dominica is already tough to get to for most Western tourist without some serious planning. It should not be made more so with a lack of communication from the Government.

Comment by Nancy Figgins Subscribed to comments via email
2009-06-23 23:12:53

My husband and I and four other travelers were stranded during this situation in Dominica, and incurred enormous extra expense. We have led dive travel excursions worldwide and have never encountered such a catastrophe. This is, indeed, bad for Dominica’s tourism. Dominica is a hidden treasure. How can we arrange to have our group compensated for their losses? Please reply with government contact information, or post on this website. Thank you.

 
 
Comment by Mark Figgins Subscribed to comments via email
2009-06-23 18:09:33

My family and I and three additional people traveling with us were among those stranded at the Mellville Hall Airport for 8 hours on Saturday June 13, 2009. I understand that the government will reimburse Liat for expenses incurred, but what about us? The unplanned expenses for my wife, daughter and I amounted to $1239.00, US. This included 1 night lodging at Castle Comfort ($50.00), airport shuttle expense($78.00) a meal in Roseau ($69.00) and Delta airline re-ticketing expenses($1042.50). We eventually made it home by noon Monday instead of Saturday night as planned.
Whom may i contact for reimbursement of at least the Dominica expenses.
I am a dive store operator in Kansas City, bringing tourism to your island – help me out here!

Mark

 
Comment by Nancy Figgins Subscribed to comments via email
2009-06-23 23:19:01

Our travel group of 6 passengers were stranded that day in Dominica, and it was, indeed, catastrophic in terms of monetary expense and hardship. We would like contact information for the government, in order to seek compensation. Thank you.

 
Comment by Chris
2009-06-25 06:38:56

Hi Nancy,

Here are the contact information for the different government ministries capable of answering any questions you might have about your your compensation:

Ministry of Tourism and Legal Affairs
Address: 3rd Floor, Government Headquarters, Kennedy Avenue, Roseau
Telephone: (767) 266-3497
Fax: (767) 448-6200
E-mail: legalaffairs@cwdom.dm

Office of the Prime Minister
Address: 6th Floor, Financial Centre, Kennedy Avenue, Roseau
Telephone: (767) 266-3300
Fax: (767) 448-8960
E-mail: pmoffice@cwdom.dm

Honourable Vince Henderson
Title:Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Labour
Ministry/Dept:Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Labour
Address: 4th Floor, Financial Centre, Kennedy Avenue, Roseau
Telephone: (767) 266-3276
Fax: (767) 448-5200
E-mail: foreigntrade@cwdom.dm

 
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