The Civil Aviation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which was debated in the Federal Parliament on October 27, was successfully passed paving the way for enhanced safety and security of the aviation sector for the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) region and its Member States.
Mover of the Bill and Minister with responsibility for Civil Aviation in the Federal Government, the Honourable Marsha Henderson said that the “purpose of the proposed amendments before the honourable House today, is really to address and rectify the issue regarding the demotion of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCA) from Category One to Category Two status by the United States of America Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).”
Minister Henderson underscored the importance of the aviation sector adding that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis understands its usefulness.
“Madam Speaker, our Government fully understands and appreciates the importance of the aviation industry. The amendments take a balanced approach between the need to protect the traveling public and, of course, ensuring the viability of the sector,” said Minister Henderson. “These amendments, Madam Speaker, are really about general aviation and balancing the critically important need for safety with making sure that the regulating burden is not too great to bear.”
The honourable Minister noted that the Government will continue to play its part to ensure the Federation is on par with the OECS and other relevant partners.
“We as a Government will continue to monitor the implementation and work with the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States and the sector to bring forward additional reforms if they are required. We understand, Madam Speaker, that the main objective of the Civil Aviation Act is to enhance and promote safety within the aviation sector,” said Minister Henderson. “So it is absolutely important for us to ensure that the focus is always maintained even with amendments.”
Minister Henderson, who is also responsible for tourism, said that “aviation is a critical part of our everyday lives and has become a critical component of the air transport sector.”
“A vibrant aviation sector is important for many industries including the tourism industry. I think it is important Madam Speaker, for us to understand that the aviation industry is something that we rely heavily on as a tourism destination, and as such Madam Speaker, it is important that we maintain not only as a country but as a region… the status of a country that does comply with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The Civil Aviation [Amendment] Bill, 2022, was largely supported by members on both sides of the aisle.