BUAVA Statement on the extension of the 'drone ban'

BUAVA Statement on the extension of the 'drone ban'


We are members of the Barbados Unmanned Aerial Association (BUAVA). BUAVA is a registered, not for profit, organization in Barbados formed in October 2017 to represent the interest of both Commercial and Recreational UAV (drone) users in Barbados.

Price Waterhouse Coopers has estimated that the drone industry will be worth $127 Billion globally by 2020. This represents a 6000% increase in one decade.

Since April 2016 the authorities in Barbados have seen it fit to implement a 'drone ban'. This drone ban has now been extended for a second occasion and is now due to end in May 2019 - this will have stopped the importation of drones to Barbados for three years.

Currently, the 'drone ban' specifically allows foreign operators to work on aerial jobs in Barbados, while effectively fettering existing local operators to outdated equipment and completely blocking any new local operators from joining the industry. It also stops any recreational use for both locals and tourists alike. Fewer than five local drone operators have been allowed permission to conduct commercial work regularly in a process that severally lacks transparency even though BUAVA has more than 30 plus members desirous of operating  commercially as drone pilots and double that number of recreational members.

Representatives from BUAVA have comprehensively presented both opportunities and additional considerations to the relevant authorities. These considerations included addressing safety and privacy concerns.

We have explained in detail the guidance that governs other jurisdictions such as Canada, the UK, Australia. These countries have far more air traffic than Barbados in the form of civilian, military, police and medical helicopters while still encouraging both commercial and recreational activity and keeping their public safe.

In the Caribbean, both Bermuda and Cayman Islands are exemplars which have adopted guidance from the previously mentioned jurisdictions to advance their new drone industries. Both are now earning foreign exchange through the provision of services.

BUAVA have presented a comprehensive plan for Barbados in keeping with these guidelines which can be easily implemented.

Against this backdrop of cooperation, we are now left without an answer on the need to further rob Barbados of the opportunity to tap into this global industry both recreationally and commercially.

Barbados UAV Association (BUAVA)