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first_img Share Share 27 Views   no discussions Share Tweetcenter_img Sharing is caring! LifestyleNewsRegionalTravel Michael Blackburn resigns as head of LIAT pilots union by: – December 23, 2011 Captain Michael Blackburn said he does not believe his resignation would negatively affect negotiations between LIAPA and the airline management.ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Friday December 23, 2011 – Captain Michael Blackburn has resigned as Chairman of the Leeward Islands Pilots Association (LIALPA) as he prepares to file a lawsuit against regional carrier LIAT challenging his summary dismissal earlier this month.Captain Blackburn said his resignation Thursday would prevent possible conflict of interest since he may have to call on association members to aid his defense.The senior pilot said he will file the challenge by the first week in January, the latest.He is also aiming to clear his name following allegations he compromised flight safety during a trip to St Lucia.The former union boss denied being pressured into making the decision and expressed full confidence in the current LIALPA leadership.“We have a very effective executive council remaining in office and a new chairman would be elected within 60 days. There is no amount of persuasion by members who support me fully that could make me to stay on,” he said.“LIAT has made some allegations regarding my professional conduct recently and I have to exonerate myself and I would take whatever steps I have to, to do it. That would place me in a compromising position because the position of chairman of the association is very powerful so that I would be in a position to exercise undue leverage or the appearance thereof, which is equally important to me and therefore I have no choice but to step down.”The former chairman stated he does not believe his resignation will negatively affect the position of LIAPA, which along with other unions are involved in an industrial dispute with the management of the Antigua-based airline.“It might even strengthen the resolve of guys who will realise they can operate without me,” he said of his resignation.“If the company is under the belief that because I’m not there they can do whatever they would like or they can take advantage of the situation, then the Caribbean people would pay a serious price.”The trade unionist denied reports of serious disunity within the association, saying “there is no big division.”He also urged LIALPA to proceed with changes to the constitution to ensure there is collective leadership rather than centralized power for the chairman.Captain Blackburn was employed with LIAT for 34 years, and served 32 of them on the LIALPA executive.His sacking led to days of industrial action by pilots, which left thousands of regional travelers stranded.Caribbean 360 Newslast_img read more

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first_imgThe men’s and women’s track teams have a lot to look forward to this upcoming weekend at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.The men are going for their sixth consecutive Big Ten Conference Indoor title in Iowa City, Iowa, whereas the women’s team prepares to host the 2006 Big Ten Conference Indoor Championships in the Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center (the Shell).The men’s team has a lot to live up to, considering they are the predecessors to a team that has won five consecutive Big Ten Conference Indoor Championships.”I think, to a certain extent, there’s a certain amount of confidence; I think the athletes draw upon the history of the program,” UW men’s coach Ed Nuttycombe said. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to go and compete in the championship. It’s something we’ve had some success with in the past, and we’re certainly hoping to continue that.”Nuttycombe is fairly confident in his team’s chances to succeed this weekend in Iowa City.”We’re one of about three or four teams that … has a chance to win, and it’s a matter of who competes best on their day.”A few of the athletes expected to excel on Saturday are Ben Roland and Nate Brown in the heptathlon, Alonzo Moore in the triple jump, Chris Solinsky in the 3,000 meters, and Demi Omole in the 60 meters. Nuttycombe will be looking to these athletes to guide his entire team.”We are one of a group of teams that has a chance to run for the championship and I think that the athletes reflect that,” Nuttycombe said. The women’s team will try to use their home advantage to upset the two favorites, Michigan and Illinois.”We’re excited about hosting the Big Ten Championships this weekend,” said UW women’s coach Jim Stintzi. “The Big Ten meet in track and field is a little different than other sports in that it all comes down to one day, so the Big Ten champion is crowned on that day.”Like Nuttycombe, Stintzi is optimistic that his athletes will find success at the conference meet.”We’re excited, and I think we’re moving in the right direction with our program,” Stintzi said. “The Big Ten has improved dramatically since last year. I looked at the [Big Ten performance] list today, and I think almost every [event] is substantially better than it was last year.”The Badgers will try to increase their standing from last year, when they placed eighth as an overall squad at the 2005 Big Ten Championships.”So while we’re better as a team, so is the rest of the Big Ten,” Stintzi said. “We’re hoping for an improvement on last year’s finish at the Big Ten.”Wisconsin will be led by pole vaulters Blair Luethmers and Jenny Soceka, who are currently ranked in the top five in that event. Distance runners Katrina Rundhaug and Maggie Grabow will also be in contention to place this weekend in the 5,000 meters.Stintzi believes his pole vaulters, which also include breakout freshman Amy Dahlin, are the strong point of the track team and will have the responsibility of earning some important points for the Badgers.”I think this year, to have both Blair and Jenny, as well as Dahlin, kind of pushing each other each week, has helped them to maybe vault more consistently and also jump higher at certain times. So hopefully that will help us in the Big Ten championship [meet].”Both Nuttycombe and Stintzi will be hoping to bring back a Big Ten Indoor Conference Championship and head into the outdoor season on a roll.last_img read more