We Urge The Immediate Repair & Reopening of the Staniel Cay Airport
Petition to the Prime Minister of the Bahamas
Help Staniel Cay urge the Bahamian government to immediately repair and reopen the Staniel Cay airport!
In April (2015), government officials abruptly closed the Staniel Cay airport. Since then, Staniel Cay citizens and others voiced objections, expressed significant concerns, and requested alternative and prompt solutions, but to no avail.
Now, more than four months later, the island remains stranded without an airport or any plan of action. The airport is the island’s lifeblood, and its closure imposes significant hardship and danger.
With great urgency, Concerned Citizens of Staniel Cay & Vicinity –representing registered voters, residents, business owners, home owners and other concerned citizens of Staniel Cay and neighboring cays – sent a petition letter to the Prime Minister and officials on August 12, 2015, urging immediate airport repair and reopening.
The airport closure impacts many more people as well. Concerned persons far and wide wish to see the Staniel Cay airport repaired and reopened immediately. Please add your support by reading the Concerned Citizens’ letter below and signing this online petition in support of it. We will continue to cite the growing petition numbers in ongoing efforts with officials.
August 12, 2015
Via Electronic Mail & Personal Delivery
Dear Right Honorable Prime Minister Perry G. Christie:
We, the signatories below, write today to urge immediate repair of the Staniel Cay airstrip. We signatories include registered voters, residents, business owners, homeowners and other concerned citizens of Staniel Cay and neighboring cays. Please hear our collective cry.
As you are aware, Government officials arrived on Staniel Cay on or about April 9, 2015 and abruptly closed the Staniel Cay airport without notice. At a public community meeting and in private conversations, Staniel Cay citizens and concerned others voiced objections, expressed significant concerns, and requested alternative and prompt solutions.
Now, more than four months later, we remain stranded without an airport or any plan of action. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are suffering! The airport is our lifeblood, and its closure imposes significant hardship and danger:
EMERGENCY ACCESS – With our airport closed, we have lost critical medical and emergency access. In addition to residents, Staniel Cay hosts a high volume of visitors throughout the year. The more people, the more chance of accidents and injuries – and they certainly occur. In an emergency, time is of the essence. A long, bumpy boat ride to Black Point, and then a truck ride to the Black Point airport, causes unacceptable delay and exacerbation of the emergency. Staniel Cay airport access literally means the difference between life and death in an emergency.
OTHER MEDICAL ACCESS – In addition to access for emergencies and injuries, the same difficulties present insurmountable challenges for residents in need of medical care. Elderly, infirm, frail and pregnant persons are not able to climb in and out of small boats, or manage a rough boat ride, in order to access a flight to Nassau or elsewhere for medical treatments and care. This is causing significant hardship for our most vulnerable citizens.
SAFETY – Even for the healthiest among us, safety is a critical concern. Traveling five miles over open water in small boats is lengthy and can be quite treacherous, especially in bad weather or bad light. We have been forced to weather hurricane season, and its accompanying summer squalls, in this manner. Now we are approaching winter, when dangerous high winds out of the north/west will pose even greater safety concerns. For ourselves, our children, and our visitors, these safety concerns rival or surpass the safety issues the government claimed behind the airport closure. We urge you to address both safety issues immediately by repairing and reopening our airstrip. Must we wait for disaster to strike before any action occurs?
ECONOMIC IMPACT, TOURISM – Staniel Cay airport is one of the busiest airports in the entire Bahamas. We exemplify the country’s mission to support the tourism industry, and we have developed a thriving tourist economy. Alas, that is suffering while the airport is closed. We experience lost tourism revenue from cancellations and a loss of goodwill while attempting to soothe disgruntled visitors to our country. The closure of our popular and heavily traveled airport is an extreme detriment to the image of the Bahamas the government wants to convey to visitors.
ECONOMIC IMPACT, LOCALS – The airport closure also causes economic hardship to locals, beyond the tourism impact. It is costly to pay for water transport to Black Point, and then land transport from the Black Point dock to the airport, and again in reverse. It also adds hours of time to the journey, which results in lost work time and wages. Transporting ourselves and our goods over such distance also limits the types of supplies and resources we can fly in. This is a huge inconvenience with negative economic consequences to us.
Innumerable other consequences exist, but we highlight the most critical above. We have presented these concerns previously, and we reiterate them now. We are gravely concerned by the lack of official communication and absence of any plan to remedy our situation. Such silence and inaction sends a strong message of disregard to us. Staniel Cay has been active in supporting our country and its administrations for decades. We do our part to participate through voting and civic responsibility. We also do more than our part to contribute to our own Cay and further its development. We respectfully request that the Government do its part to support us in return and to fulfill its responsibility to the people of Staniel Cay.
At this point, we simply need our airstrip repaired to operable condition and reopened immediately. While there are infinite possibilities related to airport improvements, please do not let extraneous issues delay or distract from our urgent goal of reopening the airport immediately. We, the numerous signatories to this letter, just want our airstrip and parking apron repaired to be smooth, usable, safe and reopened immediately. We demonstrate our commitment to this petition through our signatures below. Please let us get back to business as usual! This is our livelihood and our lives.
We welcome your prompt response with your plan to address our urgent plea. Please direct your response to all of us by replying to Mr. Stephen Miller, local government representative (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Mr. Brooks Miller, former local government representative (email@example.com), at their respective e-mail addresses. Given the urgency of this request, we trust that you will reply to us with in one week. Thank you for your attention to this critical imperative.
Concerned Citizens of Staniel Cay & Vicinity, as set forth below
cc Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Philip E. Davis
cc Hon. Minister of Transport & Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin
cc Hon. Minister of Tourism Obediah H. Wilchcombe
cc Hon. Anthony Moss, Member of Parliament for Exuma