Governor Davis Makes Final Statement on Montserrat's Air Safety Allegations
BRADES – His Excellency the Governor Adrian Davis on Wednesday made what he said will be his final statement on a series of allegations about his role in the Fly Montserrat air safety review.
Speaking during his monthly press conference, Governor Davis said he now realises he should have allowed the regulatory bodies to respond to the published reports, which had caused emotional distress to his family. He added that the regulator has released a statement and it is now up to the public to make up their own minds about the allegations.
The full statement follows:
“Over the last 10 days, MNI has run a series of articles into allegations of irregularity and unsafe practices at Fly Montserrat. They have repeated allegations and stated them as facts. They have made allegations about my conduct as Governor which have been personally hurtful to myself but much more so to my wife who has, perhaps unwisely, taken very much to heart the usually uninformed comments that have attached themselves to the articles.
“When these types of campaigns are launched, there is always a fine dividing line to be drawn. Should they be given the oxygen of publicity by responding to them, or should they be suffered in a dignified silence as response may be seen as legitimising the statements included in them. Under normal circumstances I would have adopted the latter approach. But because the subject in this case was aviation safety, I thought it was important that I responded to the allegations which seemed designed to destroy the confidence of Montserratians and others in flying to Montserrat.
“In initially responding, I made what I now consider to be an error of presentation. I responded personally, using the information that had been provided to me by the independent UK air safety regulator for the OTs, Air Safety Support International, ASSI; and in relation to two incidents relating to runway excursions and the tragic airport crash in Antigua, information supplied by the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch, AAIB. When I saw the third instalment of MNI’s coverage, I realised the error, and I agreed with ASSI that they would directly provide the information which was published both on MNI and our Facebook page yesterday. The ASSI press release makes it quite clear on the central point that it is ASSI, and not the Governor, who are directly responsible in the relevant legislation for the regulation of air safety on Montserrat and also in Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. My role as Governor is to hear appeals against ASSI decisions. I have not had to do that in my tenure as Governor.
“When we published the ASSI statement on our Facebook page, I added three points of clarification. I would like to repeat them here.
“Firstly, I was approached by a resident of Montserrat (“Mr A”) in early 2014 who said he represented around 20 other individuals on the island who were concerned about safety practices at Fly Montserrat. The individuals produced various reports and statements in support of the claims. I thought that these allegations warranted further investigation. I told Mr A that I would need to forward these allegations to ASSI as the competent authority to carry out these investigations. On behalf of the group he represented, Mr A agreed that this was the appropriate way forward. As the ASSI press release makes clear, Mr A was then contacted by the ASSI who initiated a full investigation into the allegations. A professionally qualified investigator was appointed, statements were taken and the investigation was completed. Mr A was kept informed of the progress at various points. I did not share the allegations with Fly Montserrat as it was clearly for ASSI to address these concerns with Fly Montserrat independently. I did share the allegations with the then DFID representative in his official capacity and in particular given his lead on managing the financial assistance provided by DFID for access. I believe that this was the correct thing to do. The DFID representative was asked to keep these allegations confidential and he did so.
“Secondly, and again as the ASSI press release makes clear, I was not involved at all in the investigation into Fly Montserrat which took place in 2014. Indeed ASSI were clear that it would be inappropriate for me to have any detailed knowledge of the investigation in case Fly Montserrat disputed the results of the investigation and appealed against its findings. If they had done so I would have had to hear the appeal and it would have been improper for me to have been privy to the details of the investigation. In the event that did not happen.
“Finally, in relation to the tragic airport crash in Antigua in 2012, the only report that I saw was the preliminary report which I released in November 2013. It was published both as a press release in Montserrat and on MNI at http://www.mnialive.com/articles/interim-report-released-on-cause-of-fly-montserrat-crash-water-in-fuel-feeding-system. It was given to me on an informal basis. It was on my initiative, and not that of the ECCAA, that it was published in the first place. Nothing further has been made available. As previously stated, it is the responsibility of ECCAA to publish the VP-MON accident report. The ECCAA web site is at http://eccaa.aero/ and enquiries about the availability or otherwise of a final report should most appropriately be addressed to the Director General of the ECCAA, Mr Donald McPhail.
“There have now been three installments of the story on MNI; two responses have been provided by me and one by ASSI. MNI also responded to the ASSI press release last night. These exchanges are all freely available and it will be now up to people to make up their own minds on the veracity or otherwise of one side or the other. As far as both ASSI and I are concerned, the correspondence is closed. ASSI will not be responding any further unless information that has not already been reported and taken into account by them comes to light. I will also not be taking any questions on this subject at this press conference.
“I will make this statement available to members of the press.
“Finally, on a point of information, as part of the regular programme of visits by ASSI, Maria Boyle, the Chief Executive Officer, will visit Anguilla and Montserrat in mid-June,” the statement ends