Bahamians, Unions and Workers at Sky Bahamas must learn from the example of Eastern Airlines – the times are tough…


Workers in the country must learn from the tragedy of Eastern Airlines in 1991…

Skybahamas aircraft - file photo.

Scores of office, grounds, maintenance, pilots and service workers at Sky Bahamas could be sent home for good – GREEDY WORKERS COULD KILL THE AIRLINE!

Nassau, Bahamas — Tough times are here in the Bahamas once again and, for some of us, we want it better and we want it better now.

We seek this against the backdrop that the national debt has exploded by over $2 billion dollars in the last five years. We seek this where we know almost $400 million in borrowed money was spent on roads – and, in case you don’t know, this is what we owe world lending institutions.

We seek this quick fix fast turnaround knowing that we have borrowed ourselves year after year into growing deficits, threatening the very stability of our currency – a very dangerous situation for the Bahamas to be in. This is like waking on the edge of a fiscal cliff 1,000 miles above a ridge overlooking the sea.

We in the Bahamas want this quick fix after discovering that some contractors were paid double and triple for projects like the Robert Smith Adolescent Centre at Sandilands, which has yet to open after more than five years under construction. Not even NIB, which issued the loan, could tell what in the hell happened with more than $12.1 million dollars for a contract issued in 2010.

And we still want this country fixed in record time even knowing that the country is weathering a global financial crisis which brought with it slowed inflows of foreign direct investment, swelling migration issues, defaults, foreclosures, and high unemployment all over the world.

We want the grass cut, when we know the last feller cutting the grass across the country took home the lawnmower and never returned it back into the government’s care. We saw an administration which met more than 200 million dollars in public money sitting in the bank; with unemployment standing at under 8 percent in 2007. That same administration then in five short years left just around $3 million in the bank and unemployment hanging in the double digits.

Perhaps a world hooked on quick fix pills now believes things could turn around quickly, but this is not the case.

The lessons of the last few years should teach us all something and that is we should get our fiscal houses in order. And this includes the present government.

This is where hard – very hard – decisions must come if we are to return to a stable, sound fiscal environment. We must drop the ‘sweetheartin’. Stop hitting the coke. Cut out the unnecessary frequent travels and begin to conserve the few pennies we now get from the master’s table.

Rather than complaining about the job, we should begin to see how we can work harder and improve our efforts on the job, reminding ourselves daily that – BLESS GOD -we have a job to go to and that just outside the window there is some soul praying to sit in that same seat – with three degrees and talents we don’t have.

This week an interesting request came from the Customs and Immigration workers, the people who have the best pension and the best healthcare coverage money can buy. They are demanding that “WE DA PEOPLE” through our government better their benefits and pay them more money. And in the same breath, these same people in the Unions want us to pay for utility bills for staff on the family islands [ so they can burn a/c 24-hours on us and we foot the bill] – imagine that.

You know this is what got Greece, France, and Cypus in the hell they are in now. Here it is, everyone has an idea, and everyone believes the working poor taxpayer  – who is now saddled like a JACKASS out of breath – should pay every bill and debt government workers have. They believe we should pay for their car. Pay for their house and apartments. And on top of that, pay for the unit occupied by their sweetheart. It is sickening! The JACKASS [us] can do no more!

I wonder if the people in the Customs and Immigration Unions are aware that there are workers at Club Landor on Paradise Island who have not been paid in five weeks? Or how about those workers at that resort in Cable Beach who are now unemployed because the business closed its doors without notice. Come on, mannnnnnnnn – have a heart, mannnnn! The times are rough!

Which brings us to these developments at Sky Bahamas, where workers could face a pending closure for good if the workers there don’t quickly get their act together.

During the busy holiday weekend this past week, pilots at the airline decided to go home. They want more money. NAD getting more money. Fewer people are travelling. Fuel costs have exploded and, with stiffer regulations, Randy Butler and crew must service the planes otherwise we at BP will be on their case. In the midst of this, workers have decided they ga cripple the airline and put it out of work those who have light, water, food and gas to pay. What nauseating contempt.

The greedy few, are now battling with the struggling airline because they want to build that $3,000 junkanoo costume. They are demanding more money and therefore, a gun is now to the head of all the innocent employees and the owners of Sky Bahamas.  What a hostage situation!

Again these are people who refuse to cut their budgets. They want more and would rather be unemployed than hold onto what they have.

We want to share a story with the workers of Sky Bahamas, which is about the same situation they are in today. And it is here where history becomes the best teacher for us all.

The New York Times of January 19th, 1991 under the headline: “Eastern Airlines Is Shutting Down And Plans to Liquidate Its Assets”, reported the following:

“Eastern Airlines, a fixture in United States aviation since 1928 and the nation’s eighth-largest airline, announced that it had stopped flying last night and would begin to sell off its planes and other assets.

“The airline, which had been struggling for almost two years to rebuild under the protection of the bankruptcy court, is by far the largest casualty of the pressures brought by the deregulation of the industry 13 years ago.

“About 5,000 of Eastern’s 18,000 workers are expected to be dismissed immediately. The others will work a while longer to run ground operations, including the maintenance of Eastern’s 190 planes while buyers are sought. Many of Eastern’s workers live in the New York, Atlanta and Miami areas, where the carrier has its biggest operations. Employees [were] Told to Stay Home.”

Anyone who lived in the late 1980s would remember Eastern’s story well. The airline was rocked with court battles and Union Strikes from pilots to mechanics and ground service workers, all demanding more from the airline, which was already in trouble.

Following that immediate closure of the airline, people who were working became sorry. It was too late. The decision was done. The owners had had enough. And before we knew it, those who had something became unemployed. Former employees were duped and some even committed suicide.

BP will leave this Sunday Special here for the time only to say this: We must all begin to be thankful for what we have.

We report yinner decide!