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Airport Processes 37,000 Passengers

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

HOTEL and airport executives yesterday reported minimal fall-out from the strike initiated by Customs and Immigration officers during the Easter holiday weekend, with Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) processing some 37,000 travellers.

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Vernice Walkine, vice-president of marketing and communications at NAD.

Vernice Walkine, vice-president of marketing and communications at the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), told Tribune Business that operations at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) went smoothly over the Easter weekend.

Ms Walkine said: "We have had smooth operations during the Easter weekend. We have had no interruptions in service of any kind; it's been a very smooth operation for the last few days." NAD executives estimated that between Friday to Monday there were 19,294 international and US arrivals, along with 17,721 US departures.

Frank Comito, executive vice-president of the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA), told Tribune Business that hotels had not reported any negative fallout from the strike action during the holiday weekend.

Mr Comito told Tribune Business: "We haven't heard of any negative fallout from this. Thankfully, there was a back-up plan in place and from what we could tell there was minimal interruption."

Sloane Smith, vice-president of the Bahamas Customs, Immigration and Allied Workers Union (BCIAWU), told Tribune Business that the union was not standing down from its strike, adding: "Our agenda is not predicated on anyone else's."

He said the union's position had not changed since it began its strike last Thursday, as efforts to negotiate a new industrial contract with the Government had stalled once again.

Mr Smith said: "Nothing changes; we do what we have to do. Our agenda is not predicated on anyone else's. We continue to do what we have to do on behalf of workers, and that's really what it is."

He added: "The Prime Minister said that everything was normal. How could everything be normal if you have untrained people at the ports of entry? It's really nothing against those persons because they are experts in their fields, but to put someone out at the airport and give them a stamp does not make them a Customs officer.

"The truth is that the Government broke the law when it unilaterally varied our salaries. The biggest offender in all of this has been the Government. Our agenda is not controlled by their agenda."

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