Established by the United Nations in International Civil Aviation Organization in 1944, ICAO has crafted the world’s aviation rules, known as the Convention on International Civil Aviation or the Chicago Convention.
The Bahamas became a member of ICAO in 1975 and signed onto the Chicago Convention at that time.
As a signatory to the Chicago Convention, ICAO periodically visits The Bahamas and audits this nation’s effective implementation of its Standards and Recommended Practices.
D’Aguilar noted that during the period October 23rd to November 3rd, 2017, The Bahamas was the subject of an ICAO Safety Audit, which found the accident investigation department largely non-compliant with the standards and recommended practices of Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention.
“The Air Accident Investigation Department swooped into action and completed a corrective action plan which addressed every standard and recommended practice of Amendments 15 and 16 of Annex 13 and that resulted in the drafting of the proposed Bill and Regulations,” said D’Aguilar.
He noted that the legislation creates an Air Accident Investigation Authority which shall be functionally independent from all other state aviation authorities and other entities that could interfere with the conduct or objectivity of an investigation.
D’Aguilar said the Government has executed an agreement with Aviation Registry Group out of Miami to assist in significantly improving that effective implementation score, and provide a solid foundation in the aviation sector to successfully launch the country’s new aircraft registry.
He added the government had a lot of work to do to “get all of our ducks in a row” before its next full audit in 15 months.
During his contribution to the debate, Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper underscored concerns over the legislation’s impact on those who participate in the industry who as most vulnerable.
“One area where we want to see protections for those in the industry and to protect the integrity of the AAIA, is where conflicts of interest may arise,” Cooper said.
“The legislation details where conflicts of interest might arise. This must be properly policed to international best practice. This is critical.
“This does beg the question of how you compose the authority with competent people from the industry who remain at arms-length with the industry.”
Englerston MP and Shadow Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin also raised questions over the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) agreement.
“The NAD agreement was extended we are hearing for another 10 years,” she said.
“There has been no formal advice to the Bahamian people about what you have done and what cost, why and there is a level of accountability.
“You must come to the Bahamian people and rationalize why you are doing what you are doing,” Hanna-Martin said.
“The original agreement was was for 10 years, extended for one year and then came to and end. It is now extend fo ran additional decade or more, I have no idea, no one knows. It is incumbent that you account to the Bahamian people about what you have done with the management at LPIA.”