LIAT: Dis­abil­i­ties Ser­vices Train­ing Re­quired

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - Of a writ­ten ap­pli­ca­tion to the ad­dress be­low (*). The ad­dress (es) re­ferred to above are: By

The Gov­ern­ment of St Lu­cia has re­ceived fi­nanc­ing from the In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (the World Bank) to­wards the cost of the “Caribbean Re­gional Com­mu­ni­ca­tions In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram” and in­tends to ap­ply part of the pro­ceeds to­ward pay­ments un­der var­i­ous con­tracts for de­liv­ery of train­ing. The Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia herein rep­re­sented by the Min­istry of the Public Ser­vice, In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing now in­vites sealed pro­pos­als from el­i­gi­ble train­ing providers for de­liv­ery of train­ing in the fol­low­ing com­pe­tence and skilled ar­eas: Bid­ding will be con­ducted through the pro­ce­dures as spec­i­fied in the World Bank’s Guide­lines: Se­lec­tion un­der IBRD Loans and IDA Cred­its, (cur­rent edi­tion) and the Call for Pro­posal Doc­u­ment, and is open to all el­i­gi­ble Train­ing Providers as de­fined in the Call for Pro­posal Doc­u­ment.

In­ter­ested el­i­gi­ble Train­ing Providers may ob­tain fur­ther in­for­ma­tion from the Busi­ness Saint Lu­cia dur­ing of­fice hours from 0800 hours (8:00 a.m.) to 1630 hours (4:30 p.m.) and the CARCIP web­site – www.carcip.govt.lc

All Pro­pos­als must be de­liv­ered to the ad­dress be­low (**) on or be­fore March 17, 2015 at 12:00 same March 17, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. (1400hours) in the pres­ence of Train­ing Providers or their rep­re­sen­ta­tives, who choose to at­tend, at the ad­dress be­low (**). . *The Project Co­or­di­na­tor Project Co­or­di­na­tion Unit 5th Floor Con­way Busi­ness Cen­tre

Wa­ter­front Cas­tries, Saint Lu­cia Fax: 758-453-0417 Email: Slupcu@gosl.gov.lc

**The Sec­re­tary Min­istry of the Public Ser­vice In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing 2nd Floor Grea­ham Louisy Ad­min­is­tra­tive Build­ing

Wa­ter­front, Cas­tries

IStein­berg D. Henry n Do­minica’s car­ni­val spirit and sea­son of hu­mour, wit, satire and drift, I reach for my Jan­uary 2014 pub­li­ca­tion ti­tled “Ca­lypso Drift” to find lines be­long­ing to the con­sum­mate per­former, ca­lypso-named Daddy Chess.

From his 2010 song on Lee­ward Is­lands Air Trans­port, I glean crit­i­cal lines—lines mark­ing con­tin­u­a­tion of a wres­tle Caribbean cit­i­zens in a sin­gle mar­ket and econ­omy have had to wage with one of their once-ven­er­a­ble in­sti­tu­tions. The text read: “Ch­ester sang about ‘frus­tra­tion at ev­ery port, dis­grun­tled em­ploy­ees, Leav­ing Is­land Any Time, stuck with no lug­gage and dirty clothes ain’t no priv­i­lege, bit o’ wa­ter and a dry cracker if you lucky’ ”.

In this piece on LIAT, I move the ser­vice is­sue, given my ex­pe­ri­ence as a per­son with a sight lim­i­ta­tion trav­el­ling from At­lanta to St. Maarten, then to An­tigua and on to Do­minica.

A beau­ti­ful soul by the name of Su­san Ruan picked me up in a wheel­chair when I landed in St. Maarten on Novem­ber 12, 2014. She found my suit­case and pro­ceeded from the Amer­i­can Air­lines carousel to LIAT’s de­par­ture lounge.

We checked into LIAT bound for An­tigua, then Do­minica. The man at the counter did not say much; you know - the tra­di­tional LIAT wel­come; its cheer­ful­ness. I in­formed him that wheel­chair as­sis­tance was part of the travel ar­range­ments but it did not seem to mat­ter to him. He sim­ply nod­ded, un­like the Amer­i­can at­ten­dant in At­lanta who had called for wheel­chair sup­port im­me­di­ately.

Su­san Ruan, who worked with Amer­i­can Air­lines, as­sured me that some­one from LIAT would come to my as­sis­tance at de­par­ture time. I got out off the AA wheel­chair and sat in the LIAT de­par­ture area where a friend in the days of the RSB Band no­ticed me. David Ter­rel came across to say hello. He was com­ing in from New York, head­ing for Do­minica.

While we chat­ted, LIAT an­nounced it would be one hour late. Frus­trat­ing. In­stantly, I re­mem­bered Ruan ask­ing me why I did not take WINAIR straight to Do­minica from St. Maarten in the first place.

By the time LIAT an­nounced its de­par­ture, no one had ar­rived with a wheel­chair. David Ter­rel grabbed my car­ryon. I placed my fin­gers on his shoul­der.

When we got to the plane, the host­ess took me by the wrist and pro­ceeded to lead me by the hand. Quickly, I sug­gested to her that I would rather place my fin­gers on her shoul­der or hold her el­bow. She agreed to the fin­ger-shoul­der com­bi­na­tion, lead­ing me to the seat.

When we ar­rived at Vere Bird In­ter­na­tional, all other pas­sen­gers left. You know, in the air­line in­dus­try, peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties board first and dis­em­bark last.

Af­ter stand­ing in the plane for about fif­teen min­utes, I asked the host­ess whether she could take me to the ter­mi­nal. By then the clean­ers had ar­rived. She told me that even if she took me out, she would not know which sec­tion of the ter­mi­nal to take me to. We con­tin­ued to wait.

The woman who an­nounced her­self at the bot­tom of the stairs also took me by the hand and I asked to place my hand on her shoul­der. She said she was short. I replied that that was cool and we pro­ceeded. She took me to what seemed to be some kind of buggy but I could not con­fig­ure how to board the con­trap­tion. The sole male oc­cu­pant kept telling me to come on board. I placed my cane on the floor of the buggy, re­al­ized its di­men­sions and boarded. The male oc­cu­pant, ap­par­ently dis­grun­tled, pulled my board­ing pass from the pass­port held in my hand, say­ing in the process that he un­der­stood I was hav­ing a num­ber of is­sues. Who told him that?

Not only was I thirsty, I had been trav­el­ling since seven that morn­ing and it was now af­ter 5 p.m. And you know what’s worse? The gen­tle­man took me to the wrong plane! Just as I was about to dis­em­bark from his buggy, he took a sec­ond look at my board­ing pass. We then had to drive an­other minute or so to get to the cor­rect flight.

When I boarded the flight, again, the host­ess took my hands and pro­ceeded to pull me in. I said, again, that I would rather hold her shoul­der and some­one at the back of us shouted: “I’ve heard that trick be­fore.” I was in the Caribbean for sure!

When we ar­rived at Dou­glas-Charles Air­port in Do­minica, she walked down the stairs with me. An­other gen­tle­man, from LIAT I as­sume, came to meet me. I asked that I rest my fin­gers on his shoul­der. He took my carry-on. Along the way to the ar­rival lounge, we met David Ter­rel. The LIAT as­sis­tant asked him to take me the rest of the way, ab­di­cat­ing his re­spon­si­bil­ity. Then, my suit­case—that of a sight-limited per­son—did not come with the flight. I was speed­ily re­minded that it hap­pens to ev­ery­one!

I did not ex­pect a cracker and, I do not drink while in the air. It be­came clear to me, how­ever, that the staff en­coun­tered on my way to Do­minica all did the wrong thing. They have not been trained to deal with per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties. Yet, it was amaz­ing how they did it with a smile, in­di­cat­ing their will­ing­ness to help and care for the pas­sen­ger with spe­cial needs. Those I met on my way to Do­minica were lov­ing peo­ple. That was clear to me, a sightlim­ited per­son. They sim­ply needed to know tech­niques for en­hanc­ing their com­mu­ni­ca­tion with a sight-limited per­son. This should be stan­dard air­line re­quire­ment in­scribed in con­tem­po­rary pol­icy.

Stein­berg Henry makes a

spe­cial plea to LIAT.

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