LIAT: Disabilities Services Training Required
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
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.