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Mariadal takes on victim role; few real answers to critical questions about Air Ambulance

KRALENDIJK- On Monday, Fundashon Mariadal sent a letter to the Executive Council of the Public Entity Bonaire (OLB), providing some information requested by the executive council regarding the engagement of a foreign aviation company as an Air Ambulance Operator. They also seek assistance from the Executive Council in resolving the situation that has arisen.

Last week, the Executive Council expressed concern about reports in the media, among others, that the Colombian company Sarpa may not have the proper permits to operate flights between the islands. The protocol valid between the countries of the Kingdom – but also between Curaçao and Colombia – reserves so-called cabotage flights* for local airlines. The fact that these are flights for the Air Ambulance does not change this, especially since Sarpa is a normal commercial operator. 

In Monday’s letter, which has also been shared with the press, a significant discrepancy is noted between the ‘facts’ as described by Fundashon Mariadal and facts revealed in numerous other documents, including those seen by ABC Online Media. Mariadal mentions ’thousands of flights’ that Sarpa has reportedly operated between the islands without ever encountering objections from local aviation authorities. Experts in the field consider the number mentioned highly implausible.

Mariadal also emphasizes in their letter that Sarpa would have ‘all the necessary permits’, a claim vehemently contradicted by both the Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) and the Department of Civil Aviation Aruba (DCA).

In their Monday letter, Mariadal makes substantial accusations towards various aviation institutions. “In 17 years (during which, according to Mariadal, Sarpa would have flown between the islands without any objections), CCAA, DC-ANSP, and other relevant authorities or agencies have never denied Sarpa the required permission for inter-island flights or raised any objections to the execution of thousands of international and inter-island ambulance flights by Sarpa to or from the Caribbean part of our Kingdom and/or between the individual CAS/BES islands. It is therefore completely incomprehensible why Sarpa is now denied permission,” the Mariadal letter states.

Request for Assistance

In their letter, Fundashon Mariadal appeals to Governor Nolly Oleana to come to their aid.

“I urgently appeal to you as the acting Governor of Bonaire and to your Executive Council to publicly condemn this situation in the strongest possible terms and to assist FM in every possible way in our efforts to quickly secure the safety and continuity of our air ambulance service for the residents of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius,” writes Fundashon Mariadal Chairman Giovannie Frans.

The request for assistance from Mariadal to the Executive Council is noteworthy because the organization never informed the Executive Council about the planned switch of Air Ambulance Operator, nor involved or informed the Council in any way during the process.

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