NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (December 07, 2018) — The following is an address by Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Aviation in St. Kitts and Nevis on the occasion of International Aviation Day 2018 observed on December 07, 2018.
My fellow citizens and residents,
As Minister of Aviation, today we join the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the 192 members including St. Kitts and Nevis to celebrate World Aviation Day 2018, under the theme: “Working together to ensure no country is left behind.”
Every five years, coinciding with ICAO anniversaries, the ICAO Council establishes a special anniversary theme for International Civil Aviation Day.
International Civil Aviation Day was established in 1994 as part of ICAO’s 50th anniversary activities. In 1996, pursuant to an ICAO initiative and with the assistance of the Canadian Government, the United Nations General Assembly officially recognized 7th December as International Civil Aviation Day in the United Nations system.
The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.
As the United Nations and world nations have now adopted Agenda 2030, and embarked on a new era in global sustainable development, the importance of aviation as an engine of global connectivity has never been more relevant as a fundamental enabler of global peace and prosperity.
In 2002 the government of St. Kitts and Nevis, signed on to the Chicago Convention which obliges our government to meet ICAO standards. In keeping with these obligations, St. Kitts and Nevis has developed legislation, programmes and procedures in order to give these conventions effect within our country.
It is the responsibility of each contracted state to ensure the safety and security of airline passengers, crew, ground personnel and the general public in all matters relating to civil aviation.
In St. Kitts and Nevis, our main economic engine is and continues to be tourism, and we have that responsibility to protect and ensure that our international obligations are adhered to, and are met effectively and consistently. There is no room, no room whatsoever for error or mistake.
Today the aviation industry has its challenges with global terrorism, and insider threats which is on the global increase where workers within the system choose to do things for their own personal gain and collusion among staff. This has also caused ICAO to make several amendments to its documents and requiring everyone to be screened at all times when entering restricted and sterile areas of our airports, and by means of identification badges and other additional means as set out in ICAO documents.
We must respect these requirements, standards and recommended practices set by ICAO and our legislative frame work. Failing to comply with our international obligations can have negative impacts on our tourism. We must therefore support and encourage our security forces, officers at these facilities. We must applaud them all – the Civil Aviation Department, St. Christopher Air & Sea Ports Authority (SCAPA) and Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority (NASPA) staff, the Police, Defence Force, Customs, Immigration, Airlines staff and others.
The Civil Aviation Division within my Ministry, is charged with the responsibility for oversight as required by ICAO, advising and coordinating with all agencies on matters in relation to aviation as the regulatory body for the government of St. Kitts and Nevis, along with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) based in Antigua.
In ensuring that the government meets its obligations internationally, regionally and locally, the department has oversight for both Vance W. Amory and Robert L. Bradshaw International Airports. It conducts inspections, monitoring, testing, surveys, investigation, audits, training, certifications, risk assessments, the coordinating of emergency exercises and issuing of Landing Permits.
Indeed our department has been so well recognised that members of that department were recently been asked by the Commonwealth of Dominica to come to Dominica to train their staff in Dominica.
Every year, the state is assessed by the United States’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This is done to see whether or not St. Kitts and Nevis is meeting the ICAO standards and recommended practices as required. Testing is also conducted by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA).
Every five years, ICAO conducts its own audit to ensure that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is meeting its international obligations including in relation to all air carriers.
So today ladies and gentlemen, we celebrate World Aviation Day. Let us all recognise and support all of us and all our stake holders and staff that work within this industry for their hard work and dedication, in ensuring that as a nation we meet and exceed our obligations and protect our travelling public from any threat or acts of unlawful interference.
Happy World Aviation Day. May God continue to bless us all, and may He continue to keep our aviation industry safe.