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DHL angers 'Butch' Stewart

Chartered cargo plane leaves Caribbean without offloading emergency supplies for hurricane-hit TCI

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

DHL, the international courier service, has left Gordon “Butch” Stewart seething, after a frustrating weekend during which a DHL cargo plane he chartered, flew out of the Caribbean without offloading emergency supplies destined for hurricane- hit Turks and Caicos lslands (TCI).


Stewart, the Caribbean's top hotelier and chairman of the Jamaica Observer, said his Sandals Resorts International (SRI) chartered the DHL 737 aircraft at a cost of US$57,000 to fly 48,000 pounds of building materials from Kingston, Jamaica, to Providenciales, TCI, last Saturday.


“After a series of mishaps, the DHL plane left the TCI with the cargo still on board and up till today they are unable to tell me when they'll return to deliver it,” said Stewart who accused the company of not fulfilling its obligations to a client. Efforts by the Observer to get comments from DHL yesterday were futile as telephone calls went unanswered.


Group director for Sandals Procurement Division Jordan Samuda, who is handling the charter, said, as agreed, the DHL plane arrived in Jamaica Saturday to pick up the building materials, bought in Jamaica, that are to be used for urgent repairs to damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.


The Sandals-owned Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort, TCI's largest private employer and the British overseas territory's biggest foreign exchange earner, like many other businesses, has been closed for repairs, putting hundreds of people out of work and leaving the airport a virtual ghost town.


A December 14, 2017 deadline has been set for reopening of the resort, but without the building materials, that date might not be realised at a time when TCI citizens are trying to put their lives back together, which explains Stewart's anger, Samuda said.


Recalling the events of last Saturday, Samuda told the Observer that the DHL plane was loading the building materials when rain intercepted after seven of 10 pallets were on the plane. The pilot said he had run out of time as he had to get to TCI and left with the seven pallets.


From Jamaica the aircraft landed at the private section of the Provo airport and was requested to move from that tarmac, apparently because of poor lighting there. It taxied to the main section of the airport where there was inadequate equipment to offload all but one of the seven pallets.


The pilot left for Miami after 45 minutes on the ground, again saying they had run out of time and taking the remaining six pallets with them. Since then, Sandals has been unable to get a date when the three pallets in Jamaica and the six in Miami would reach TCI.


“DHL simply did not make adequate arrangements to carry out its obligations to us. The pilot was unwilling and inflexible even in those circumstances and we have been getting the runaround from their Fort Lauderdale office,” said Stewart said he had made it clear to DHL Caribbean Region CEO Reiner W Wolfs that Sandals found its performance unacceptable.


“It is the worst example of bureaucracy I have seen in a long time. This delay is going to cost us a huge amount of money and set back our attempts to aid the recovery process in TCI,” said an angry Stewart.


DHL Express is a division of the German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL, providing courier, parcel and express mail services worldwide. It was originally founded in the United States.