Ascension : Letter
Submitted by The Islander (Nathan Prince) 01.02.2007 (Article Archived on 15.02.2007)
Solomons were obviously stung by a counsillor’s reference to the company having “no will” to import fresh fruit and vegetbles and wrote a letter to the Islander.
I believe the letter shows exactly what the company sought to disprove and that is that the company has indeed “no will” to import fresh produce. They said:
“A few years ago there were informal arrangements.” These were formalised by our present Administrator, produce was imported with lettuce or cabbage at £5.40 each. Solomons blame the high cost of airfreight but give no figures to back this up. How much were the lettuces in the Falklands, how much was the air freight and what massive profit did Solomons expect to make. Why import stuff that is unaffordable in the first place? Why specify that you want to buy produce that has to be imported to the Falklands, presumably from Chile, “which out priced the the goods to the consumer” how daft can you get? Why not buy goods at a price that people will pay? “The detail was explained [to] Dr Owen” why can’t we be given an example? Are we too stupid to understand? Call me suspicious but without openness who is going to believe a story like that, especially when it is immediately followed by a request for a subsidy from AIG? There is “no will” to do anything about it, just ask for a subsidy.
The sea freight option (paragraph 4). On one occasion fresh produce was frozen……. not Solomons fault. Fine, but the answer to one occurance is not to do nothing about it for 3 ½ years. Clearly if it wasn’t Solomons fault it must have been the way the container was controlled on the ship. Could it be the ship’s fault? Don’t they have people who understand chill container management and control? And why (paragraph 5) are “most of these issues still … unresolved”? Sounds to me like there is “no will” to do anything about them. Heard that expression, “no will”, before?
And then produce is no longer personal effects. It is on the airbridge. Sealink have no problem with it. Lufthansa don’t. Why is it that Solomons Shipping do? Could it be that they will be able to squeeze a few more pennies out of their not too rich passengers who have no alternative but to use them? And it’s “endorsed by …. Andrew Wier Shipping “ (apparently experts in freezing chilled produce 3 ½ years ago?) who also get a cut? Now there’s a surprise. What is more, instead of the produce being in an air conditioned cabin for 2-3 days, or part of the normal baggage allowance, it’s in an uncontrolled hold. But of course, silly of me, it makes Solomons £9,20 for 0.223 cubic meters, presumably more money ( could that be the meaning of “starting to work well”) and less effort than fixing the supposedly insurmountable problems of 3 ½ years ago. Seems there is “no will” to tackle them.
I have no problem with reasonable profits but seemingly uncontrolled monopolistic exploitation sticks in the craw. Demanding subsidies and overcharging the customer is an easier way of making money than actually trying to address apparent complacency and ineffectiveness.Clearly from both the public’s and councillors’ observations and Solomons’ own pen there is “no will” to do anything about it. Or, come up with a more convincing story, Solomons.
Name & Address supplied, but witheld at request of author.
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