28 November, 2009


New opportunity for Access Tsarina opens up.  Winair announced yesterday that it is ceasing its daily flights between St Maarten and Anguilla effective 1 December.  December is the peak of the tourism season for Anguilla.  What does this tell us about Winair's views on our tourism prospects?  The industry is very important to us.  Now that marijuana exports are banned, we have very few other crops to reap besides tourists.  

Have you studied the American Eagle recently reorganized service between Puerto Rico and Anguilla?  The flight arrives in Anguilla in the mid-afternoon, meaning that only travelers from the Eastern Seaboard of the United States are able to use it to access Anguilla in one day.  Visitors from Canada, the Mid-west, and the Pacific coast require an overnight stop in Miami or San Juan to be able to get to Anguilla, if they use San Juan.  For those of us in Anguilla who were previously accustomed to make a medical appointment with our doctor in San Juan, go up in the early morning, and then return to Anguilla in the late evening, the present service is a disaster.  We cannot accomplish anything in one day.  We must go to San Juan the day before our appointment, then overnight again to be able to catch the flight the following afternoon.  The service stinks.  The cost for a return ticket on the Eagle to San Juan is over US$300.00, plus at least US$200 for the hotel room, while the return ticket from New York to St Maarten costs less than US$400.00.
Anyone who over the last year has accessed Anguilla via San Juan on American Airlines or via St Maarten on Winair had to have been very badly advised.  I am sure that very little business will be lost to Anguilla if they are both discontinued.  No properly advised international traveler should do otherwise than go directly to St Maarten, then catch either a ferry or one of the small, easily arranged non-scheduled airlines that do the 6 minute flight to Anguilla.
Of the scheduled airlines, only LIAT, God help us, provides a decent air service into or out of Anguilla to anywhere else.  I doubt that many persons will be inconvenienced by the loss of the Winair connection.  What Winair did not mention in its end of service notice was that this flight to St Maarten was probably one of the most expensive flights anywhere in the world, mile for mile. 
Does anybody know how many of our hard-earned dollars went to support the last venture between Puerto Rico and Anguilla?  Will the figures of public funds expended on this project ever come out?  Does the previously announced financial commitment by the government to subsidizing that service continue even now in times of hardship?
Given our government’s penchant for supporting over-the-top, hare-brained enterprises promoted by party supporters and hangers-on, one can only imagine what opportunities our Access Tsarina and her cronies are looking at for the future expenditure of public funds.


  1. What's wrong with this picture? Nearly seventy percent of visitors coming to Anguilla originate from east coast corridor and have easy access to early morning flights to San Juan. One Eagle flight dialy is insufficient especially, in high season. What does Eagle know we don't? Have very litle information on Rainbow other than they are sporadic and expensive.

    Many visitors are forced to travel through St. Maarten and by any standards, this isn't a pleasant experience. A high percentage of visitors coming to Anguilla are seniors. In SMX they have to hande luggage, transfer by taxi, and often, have a rough boat ride to Anguilla. Not a very comforting way to start your vacation at an up-market destination.

    There has been talk of an Anguilla Lounge in Julliana Airport. A comfrotable place where visitors can be processed, luggage transferred, and transportation provided. In challenging economic times, people who are innovative and provide the best services, win the game.

    Until travel, arrival, and departure services are improved, visitors will continue to experience stress and inconvenience traveling to Anguilla. This is unacceptable.

  2. It is well known that Anguilla as a destination has become harder and less attractive over the last couple of years. I have heard that to get to California you have to overnight also from some UK locations you have to overnight, this was not so previously as you could do the long trip in one day. This may be one of the reasons that most villas owned by expats are for sale, they just find it too hard to get to Anguilla which automatically means less tourists. It looks like we will have to do with less and less tourists now.

  3. Then they arrive to the ferry terminal or airport in Anguilla, where instead of a warm welcome they are treated like smugglers and felons. After a lengthy,rigid and unfriendly immigration process it begins all over again at customs, where poking through visitors bags is common. It is amazing that people still travel here seeing how unwelcome they are made to feel when they arrive, or leave. As tourism IS our only industry one would assume that proper training and welcome would be provided to the only source of income to the island. There is no VIP service available here either. You would think the Government in these hard times might instill a PAY for VIP treatment to people that would like the service. Say for $300 you could be greeted at your hotel by I & C officials, so you could take your chartered boat straight in to your hotel or villa beach(sea permitting) or if coming by private jet you might be able to fax or e-mail passports in advance and fill out customs forms online to speed up the process. Maybe C & I could actually come into your plane and process you. What am I thinking!!!! Could we actually be that forward thinking here in Anguilla??? Not a chance. If you come in a private Jet you should actually be treated worse because you are rich. Lets not make any extra money (we don't need it anyhow right?) and encourage high end tourism. As an excercise the ministers should spend a day in both I & C areas to see how poorly our officers perform in this area.

  4. While I consider Yanchie ("most people refer to me as The Mayor") Richardson to be a boring egomaniac, he can sometimes be interesting to listen to when he gets excited and the truth comes straight from his heart to his lips without being filtered through his brain.

    This happened this afternoon on KOOL-FM when Yanchie, Sutcliffe Hodge's most vocal supporter, stated that "we have to show The White People they can't make us second class citizens in our own domain." Cliffie, as well, often mentions "white people," usually as a source of government and private revenue.

    Why are we thus surprised when Customs and Immigration officers at the ports treat arriving [white] tourists as smugglers and felons?

    "The next revolution is coming and it will not be bloodless." --Percy Thomas

  5. "Anonymous" 4:17PM, you obviously are not Anguillian or West Indian. "White People" used in that conext does not refer to race, it refers to foreigners who are given preferential treatment at the expense of native people. It is not meant to be, and is not racist as you imply.
    Your assumption that "arriving tourists" are [white] is itself demeaning and racist. Many non "white"- whatever that is supposed to mean- tourists grace our shores on a daily basis from all over the world.
    Having said that, it is a reality that a lot of expats who come to Anguilla and other Caribbean Islands want to dictate how these islands should develop, often to the detriment of the natives. Tat is the expectation of many expats who reside here in Anguilla; that they be given 'special'status. It is better that they become a part of Anguillian Society as the meet it rather than either try to transform it to their liking or seting up their own social 'enclave' as is now done.

    Have you considered that both Yanchie and Sutcliffe spent considerable years in the US and as Black people must have suffered at the hands of that county's very racist system, hence their convictions?

  6. I have read the previous comments with some surprise. In the many years my wife and I have come to Anguilla for our yearly escape from the howls of the northeast winter to reside for 5 blessed months in our modest villa, we have never incounted rudeness. Most often it is "welcome back." Even at customs, when we have showed the prepared list or been asked "what do you have?", they have just waved us on.
    But I have seen very arrogant behavior by tourists that would be hard to take by anyone.

  7. Speaking of..."Given our government’s penchant for supporting over-the-top, hare-brained enterprises..." has everyone forgotten about the almost $10,000 Victor and company were "scammed" out of when they signed to be listed on some Chinese website while visiting London? Look at http://corruptionfreeanguilla.blogspot.com/2009/08/ripped-off.html for details. I defy anyone to find any reference to Anguilla on this idiotic website. Maybe the new Chinese restaurant (is this "Chinee" restaurant #14 or #15?) came to us through this site.

  8. I am amazed that Anguilla is sitting back and letting this happen. Everyone I speak to is keen to attract european clients to the island to place less reliance on the US and Canada. An Air link from SXM is vital to these people as not everyone wants a boat transfer. Look at your main competitor St Barths. When landing at SXM people have around 20 flights a day to choose from to trasnfer on. No wonder they choose to go there!!

    Antigua is as bad with 1 flight per day and long wait times for european connections.

    Wake up Anguilla and look to support a market you are trying to attract instead of being US centric all the time.

    Other islands have nationalised airlines that operate successfully. Perhaps the people should look at this?

  9. I too have noticed the sad decline in flights. I booked flights on American in Feb - at the time I booked Orlando - Anguilla - same day & likewise Anguilla - London same day (excepting the overnight flight portion). Now it's Orlando, overnight in Miami, Anguilla and Anguilla, overnight in San Juan - London via Miami so its taking an extra 2 days travel plus hotel costs just to come over for a holiday on American - chances are I wont be using this route again!

  10. It's going to get interesting when the 787 "Dreamliner" comes online (if they can ever get it built, that is).

    The plane is designed to take 300 passengers up to 12,000 miles, enabling point to point travel from any point on the earth to any other.

    SXM could be getting non-stops from ORD, LAX, SFO, even NRT, KHG or PGV. Or BOM or CCU :-) someday. Or not.

    Finally, if we can just put *another* 1000 feet on the runway at Wallblake ;-), we'll be able to land the new Gulfstream 650s when they come out 2012, which are pretty much supposed to do the same distances as the 787 for the carbon-bigfoot class.

    The longer you live, the weirder it gets, boys and girls...


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