Antigua refuses to allow CDB-owned LIAT aircraft to be moved to Barbados

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Caribbean News Service (CNS) There is an apparent standoff between Barbados and Antigua — LIAT’s largest shareholder and the airline’s headquarters, respectively.

Sources close to the situation have told Caribbean News Service (CNS) that Antigua and Barbuda is refusing to accede to a request to have three of the 10 ATR aircraft in LIAT’s fleet moved to Barbados.

The three aircraft were purchased with funds borrowed from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which is based in Barbados. The other seven ATR aircraft are on lease from various lessors.

On Saturday Prime Minister Gaston Browne  announced that a meeting of the major shareholders — the governments of Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica — has been set for Monday, July 20.

It comes a week after another scheduled meeting failed to get off the ground due the unavailability of Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

”Subsequently, we have been given notice as well for a second meeting to take place on the 31st of July for shareholders to come together again with the purpose of winding up LIAT,” Browne said

“So it would appear that even though they agreed to meet that they have already come to the conclusion and that they have drawn a line in the sand, and are saying that LIAT should and will be wound up.

“In the likely or unlikely event that those discussions fail, Antigua and Barbuda will have no choice but to move immediately to take defensive action to protect LIAT from any brutish aggression to destroy it,” Browne added.

Harold Lovell

Former aviation minister and current Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, says while he supports not allowing the planes to be moved from Antigua, Prime Minister Browne is to blame for the way things are playing out.

“What played out in public, that literally poisoned the well, that muddied the water, that made the whole thing like a schoolyard fight with Prime Minister Browne basically in vague language accusing [Prime Minister Dr. Ralph] Gonsalves of lying and that sort of thing,” Lovell said.

“If you speak with anybody with experience in these matters, they will tell you that whenever you see anything accomplished or achieved, it’s not achieved by people going on the radio and shouting. That spoils everything. My own feeling is that things went wrong once we started to have all this letter writing and this statement about who stab who in back and who [is] treacherous. That is not how you get things done.

“Once the well was poisoned, once the water was muddied, you’re going to encourage a lot of people to go down that line. So, then the whole argument instead of being focussed on finding a solution that Antigua and Barbuda can live with, a solution that Antigua and Barbuda can put on the table and get others to agree with, you now have public cussing and people taking attitude,” Lovell added.

But Lovell said he supports holding the planes in Antigua.

“Barbados now, I don’t know what their thinking is, but I would agree with the position that there should be no movement of the aeroplanes, but it should never have come to this,” he said.

“I would not allow the planes to leave, as a negotiating position. I think if the situation right now is such that it appears as though there is no united stand, it doesn’t appear as though there is any clear position, then the fact that they would be asking for the planes to be returned when the airline is not flying, and where apparently there has been no communication, certainly no agreement, then I think if you are in that type of position where there has to be some form of negotiation in terms of what goes where and who gets what, then to me you freeze everything exactly where the assets or whatever else are located.

“Then we’ll talk from there and if that is decided and that is the clear position that must be adopted then you release them. But for now, I would not release them because to me you have to ensure that all is going to work out in the way that at least you can live with,” Lovell said.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Browne boy here we go again the story should read CDB OR THE CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT BANK want it’s planes in BARBADOS don’t go making it sound like the government of BARBADOS ask for the planes,your catching at straws Browne if the other government’s didn’t want to play ball with you then it’s very unlikely they will now
    The planes does not belong to Antigua or any other islands so try and cut your losses and start looking for a way to pay the 500 employee of LIAT in Antigua or a way to create some jobs for them to survive .

    • Skyy it is NOT a good move.. you obviously don’t understand what’s going on here.

      The planes have NOT been paid for and like any vehicle would have to be repossessed by the bank. The PM IS REFUSING TO LWT PLANES THAT ARE NOT BEING PAID FOR BE SENT BACK TO THE BANK WHICH IS ON BARBADOS!

      How is that a good move? Even ethically it’s just wrong!

      • Where is the request from the CDB to repossess the planes. The bank can and will only do so when the person who is liable for the the repayment of the loan neglects on their obligation. And as far as I see that is the problem that Barbados has. They are in an IMF program and cannot afford to pay that loan any longer. But instead of then throwing in the towel and surrender their share they want to kill the entire company. CDB is in no rush to get back no planes and that will not make their situation any better. There are no buyers out there to purchase the planes at market value. Not with Covid out there. And furthermore I have been calling on our Prime Minister to examine the conditions as to the purchasing of the planes and to see whether or not that resulted in Barbados been issued share for that. Cause if that is the case it means that the shares should be reverse back to portfolio as Barbados did did not honor their side of the agreement.

        • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! “Each One, Teach One.” – an African American Proverb from the Period of Enslavement became the Battle Cry of Mandela and the many Black South African Prisoners on Robben island to ensure that everyone in the movement was educated! Just as in Nigeria, the People of African Descent resident on the Rock will need to invoke this slogan in our literacy campaign on the pros and cons of LIAT and the English Speaking Caribbean Economy, Air Transportation and Logistics!

          Mi Gud Fren, clearly some have no knowledge of CDB – The Bank – Who are the Shareholders and How it is funded! If they only knew they would ask for not only Solomonic Justice but also Ancestral Guidance! Read and Weep! https://www.caribank.org/about-us/investors/investor-fact-sheet

          Some are praying for the Wise Men coming from the East bearing Gifts! If nothing else wanton “Rona” and vagabond “Covid” have exposed the fault lines and vulnerabilities not only in the Worldwide Airline Industry and LIAT but also Health Care and the weak economies of these Tourism Dependent SIDS!

          “Those who forget History are bound to repeat it!” Santayana! The Pandemic of 1917 -1920 was followed by The Great Depression lasting from 1929 to 1939 leading to WWII from 1939 to 1945! Will these SIDS under the heels of the Breton Woods Bandits – World Bank, IMF and Paris Club – escape the Moles of Hollows Sorrows!

          De Vendors at Da Bridge say: Pay Attention! Long Term Strategic Planning!
          As Bilay said to Harsh Rhyder, “You don’t have to breed de blasted country to rule it” – Edgar O. Lake, The Devil’s Bridge!
          https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53409521

          “The basic confrontation which seemed to be colonialism versus anti-colonialism, indeed capitalism versus socialism, is already losing its importance. What matters today, the issue which blocks the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity will have to address this question, no matter how devastating the consequences may be.” ― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth!

  2. GG you are raising an interesting point. However, we need to know whether the planes were funded by a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to Barbados. In that case the planes would belong to Barbados. If the planes belong to Barbados I cannot see how the government of Antigua can withhold the property of Barbados. Should the government do that I can see litigation down the road by Barbados in a claim of detinue for the return of their property. Moreover, why would the planes not be owned by the company LIAT? However, even in the latter case I still cannot see how Antigua would be justified in holding the planes. Is Antigua owed money by LIAT and is therefore holding the planes pending payment? I doubt that. This is just another example of how messy the LIAT matter may become. I will be watching very closely the developments in the next few months.

    • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! “Crapeau open ee mouth anh Tory jump out!” sey De Vendahs ah Da Bridge!

      “However, we need to know whether the planes were funded by a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to Barbados. In that case the planes would belong to Barbados.” asks the Learned Legal Luminary from his Perch in The High Court! Does he and the Damned Lad know something the People of African Descent resident on Antigua and Barbuda didn’t! “I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself And falls on th’other.” Sheakespeare: Macbeth!

      Does the Critic have the Goods on De Cap’n who pulled off another heist with the Francophones, before departing from the Southern Trinity to land in the Northern Maria where he ensured that the beach bums would enjoy Miami’s maintenance and not where “the beach is just the beginning!” “I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise? I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did not you speak?” Shakespeare: Macbeth!

      Is the Learned Legal Luminary and Critic suggesting another well coordinated Chess move not only by De Cap’n but also by the departing CDB Aristocrat and Bureaucrat, as the the southern chicken hawks, Bimshire and De Comrade, rubbed their fingers in glee just as Fagin and Oliver Twist, right under the dimmed eyes of the Bald Eagles from Green Bay and Buckley’s, while they rested tranquilly without a care in the IMF’s Nest Plan of Fiscal Reforms and Structural Adjustment!

      “I thank you, good people:- there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord. The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled o’er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings: but I say, ’tis the bee’s wax; for I did but seal once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since.- How now! who’s there?” – Shakespeare’s King Henry VI, Part II, act IV, Scene II,
      Oh Gad! Lawrd! Hab Mercy pon Arwe!

      Who got rid of the Cock Robin de Garrat challenger from the Sherkerley Mountains to install “de Embalmer Brit” of whom de Comrade sang his praises from amongst the 200 plus candidates! The Phoenix must have then been the Crown Jewels of de Garifuna!

      “Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he ‘live, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.”

      Mi Gud Fren, “For The People in a small place, every event is a domestic event; the people in a small place cannot see themselves in a larger picture, they cannot see that they might be part of a chain of something, anything.” Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place one of the ten Caribbean Books recommended by “O’ for reading during Caribbean American Heritage Month in the Era Of “Covid and Rona!”

    • For a lawyer you really are a sad case. Its better you get your money back from the university that educated you. Where in law are you basing you opinions on. A shareholder can decide what happened to a company’s asset. Given that the company is not even in liquidation. So what you suggest shareholders can just start grabbing assets. Barbados can grab planes and what does St. Vincent, Antigua and the other shareholders grab. The planes are the asset of the company period. Yes Barbados is the one that took out the loan. But they did it for the company. I wonder what they got in return. Cause if it is that they got shares than the story is just beginning. Cause then it can be argued that Barbados did keep its side of the bargain and did not finish paying for the planes and therefore the shares will have to return into the company’s stock. Antigua is the Head Quarter of LIAT and technically all the planes should have been parked right here. The only litigation I can see coming is if they refuse the rescue plan from the PM that he takes his shareholder to court. Because no majority shareholder can bully any minority shareholder to accept his losses is he is willing to put more money in the company in order to turn the tides around. And especially when those shareholder are not been asked to put in any funds. This is voluntary liquidation it was not forced by any of its creditors. And the courts will certainly look at that. No creditor that knows liquidation will cost them to lose at least 50% or more on their debt will agree for a company that still have live in it to fold up leaving them with an empty bag. That why this talk about liquidation is foolish. If they only understand the long drown court cases that will follow. Lawyers will make lost of money. All the way up to the Privy Council or the CCJ. Injunction after injunction will follow. And Antigua will have to go all out. The sad thing is Antigua was will to buy Barbados shares, but Barbados wanted to make a killer cause I’ll bet you their plan for liquidation was long time in the making. They have lots more to lose and yet they are willing to do that, makes you wonder what the motives are. US$100million in debt for an airline is not n insurmountable task to carry. Anyone that does a cost benefit analysis will see that the benefit of LIAT to their country weighs more than the cost to keep it flying. That why some countries are willing to give AA and BA and VA minimum revenue guarantees. And they pay millions to have these airline flying to their destination. We saw that also when American Eagle was closing down. They all paid millions to the Eagle yet the Eagle stopped flying and LIAT had to pick up the slack. Cause nobody was able to fly to Puerto Rico and then to the small Islands. LIAT needs restructuring and if some shareholder cannot afford it they can throw in the towel. Simple as that. But they cannot say, because I cannot afford it we should all close down. That is bullying.

  3. TABOR by tomorrow anytime after 5.30pm we would have some news on the matter the meeting between the shareholder governments supposed to start at 5pm by 5.30 it should be over.

  4. Liat 2000 cannot run without planes. Ownership of the planes have to be determined. If a loan was given to Liat for the planes, could any new Liat entity take over the loan? Antigua should keep the planes until the situation is resolved. There could be gamesmanship at play here to stymie any Antiguan attempt to fly Liat airline again.

  5. Stand firm Hon. Gaston Browne in defence of Antigua and Antiguans. Regardless of this treacherous plot instigated by Gonsalves and the motley gang, aided and abetted by sissies like Lovell and others of the rainbow persuasion, I applaud your efforts on behalf of an undeserving John public. We’re it not for the fact that I gave family members, former employees of LIAT, now facing a most uncertain future, I would say ‘the hell with it’. Let the AWU/ABWU which undermined LIAT over the rears# with encouraging their membership in their ridiculous_demands over the years. Let them feel some of the pressure of unenemployment, and anxiety about their emplogability. But alas Sir, you are not like me, mean to the bone.

  6. The 3 ATRs funded by the CDB are part of the LIAT fleet, and ought to be based at LIAT Headquarters. The planes should have been acquired by LIAT and not by Barbados.

    Even if the planes were acquired in the name of Barbados, they were acquired for the use of LIAT, and there must be some kind of agreement between Barbados and LIAT, written or verbal, why the planes are in the possession of LIAT, and based at LIAT Headquarters.

    So, Barbados would not have the right to repossess the plane without without some kind of negotiation or legal process, unless it was acting within the terms of some prior agreement.

    In the ongoing scenario, Governments and citizens of various countries are being affected, and can suffer consequences. The Minority Shareholders of LIAT also have rights in law not to suffer oppression from the Majority.

    Therefore, in view of the facts and circumstances existing, I think the Antigua and Barbuda Government is properly pursuing a course of action aimed at safeguarding the rights of itself and it’s citizens.

    • You missed the biggest fact, the planes are owned by the CDB and their headquarters is in Barbados. Read the headline and then the content. If you default on your car loan I’m sure the bank is moving it from your garage to their own.

      • You seem to missing the fact. The planes are funded by the CDB but they are not owned by the CDB. They CDB has a lien on them. Just like if I take out mortgage the house is mine. Only when I default can the bank exercise their right for recovery. LIAT is not their as jet. CDB cannot as yet reclaim the planes. In any way, Barbados is the one that took out the loan. And not LIAT. It was their way of funding LIAT. Which brings me to the point I made some time ago. If the fact that Barbados was issued shares based on their funding of the planes, for them to liquidate the company now would mean that they never really have placed the monies into LIAT and therefore Antigua should close look at this transaction and reverse any decision that was made based on the premise. Perhaps share were issued for that and therefore those shares need to be recalled.

        • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! “The People in a small place cannot give an exact account, a complete account of events. … The people in a small place can have no interest in the exact, or in completeness, for that would demand a careful weighing, careful consideration, careful judging, careful questioning. It would demand a reconsideration, an adjustment, in the way they understand the existence of Time.” – Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place!

          This mere voice in the wilderness questioned many moons ago: the dimmed eyes of the Bald Eagle – some say Turtle Dove – from Green Bay Hill and the Ground Dove from Backstreet Ditch, while they rested tranquilly without a care in the IMF’s NEST Plan of Fiscal Reforms and Structural Adjustment; the beguiling and bewitched Leadership, respectively, of De Cap’n from TnT and de “Embalmer” from the UK; the ATR Purchases, which epitomized “every deal is a steal;” and, the bacchanal of masqueraders from the CDB Highlanders to the Merrymen of St. James as they huffed and puffed equity, in gleeful admiration from Friar Tuck of Argyle with nary a peep from from Sheriff Turtle Dove and his deputy Ground Dove as they relaxed deep in the IMF Forest!

          In this the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015 -2020 and with “Rona” running wantonly about with “Covid” spreading death and destruction, one can safely say “Those who forget History are doomed to Repeat It!” The History of these English Speaking Caribbean SIDS questions the misnomers of W.I – Busta, The Doc (1 from 10 leave 0) to Barrow (former consigliere to De Bust at Da Bridge) and “The Little Eight”!

          “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Rahm Emanuel said the Southern Boys and Gal! “LIQUIDATE!”

          Hold Up! “Many, Many, Many Men wish death pon me. Don’t cry no mo. Don’t look to the Sky no mo.” – 50 Cent says the Northern Urchin! “CHECKMATE!”

          Traveling along the Caribbean Highway in the Era of Covid19 under Clouds of suffocating yet nutrient rich Sahara dust stifling the expected Hurricanes only to be submerged by mats of Sargasso, the employees of African Descent and their customers – the traveling public – cry out that, “There is no sensation like drowning, because the feeling is not merely the agony, but a bewilderment at so alien a circumstance. The mind believes that there should be air, since there is always air to be had, and the urge to breathe is such a matter of instinct that it requires a kind of focus to belay the order.” – Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Water Dancer!

    • You can’t tell the bank they need to negotiate… if you owe the bank for your car, the bank has the right to take it from the first missed payment. They are not obligated to negotiate or cut you a deal… if they do it’s a privilege and not a RIGHT .. the planes haven’t been paid for and the bank recalled them … they must be sent back! PERIOD!

      • Don’t know where you live but here if the bank wants t repossess any vehicle or house they have to go to the court. They cannot come in and say he you you missed a payment give me that car or come out your house. You guys really make some crazy suggestions as if we live in lala land.

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