Barbados still negotiating on LIAT


(Barbados Today)

Prime Minister Mia Mottley has admitted that talks with Antigua and Barbuda regarding the sale of Barbados’ LIAT shares did not go as expected.

Negotiators from the two sides met two weeks ago at the Hilton Hotel when talks broke down.

Those negotiations never got off the ground and discussions came to a halt after only a few hours.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne later charged that Barbados was insisting that his Government purchase their 49.4 per cent majority shares in the cash-strapped regional airline carrier for $88 million.

While Mottley revealed that a LIAT board meeting was scheduled to be held tomorrow, she said negotiations did not go according to plan.

“I think there is a LIAT board meeting tomorrow and the Director of Finance and the PS [permanent secretary] in International Transport have gone off to that. The matter is still subject to negotiations and discussions and I have said and I’m not going to make a habit of negotiating across the oceans…” Mottley said during a post-Cabinet press conference at Government headquarters this afternoon.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley (centre) flanked by Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn (left) and Minister of Health Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic during today’s press conference.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley (centre) flanked by Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn (left) and Minister of Health Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic during today’s press conference.

“Suffice it to say however, that obviously they are taking a little longer than we anticipated and negotiations either work, in which case they are successful, or they don’t work in which case you revert to the status quo.”

If successful, the sale of Barbados’ shares would make Antigua and Barbuda, which currently has a 34 per cent ownership in LIAT, the majority owner.

However, Browne has declared that Antigua and Barbuda will not settle at the US$44 million proposal made by Barbados.

He said such a deal would be “a steal for Barbados”.

“I understand mathematics, and I understand percentages, and I also understand value for money, so if we were to settle at US$44 million, that would be a steal for Barbados; and we are not in the process of giving away money. We are in the process of creating value and to get fair value for the people of Antigua and Barbuda. So as far as I am concerned and I have said this to the Prime Minister of Barbados, because she knows my thinking – discussions cannot start at US$44 million. She knows my position and has since come down,” Browne subsequently said.

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  1. Ok now we have to wait and see who needs it the most. And is there another way for Antigua to get control of LIAT and for how much.

    • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! “If we can, in the process of materializing our consciousness, claim space as agents of progressive change, then we can change our condition and change the world.” – Asante!
      In this the International Decade for People of African Descent, we must begin our regeneration towards building solid institutions, a sustainable transportation network along the Caribbean and Lucayan Highways and transformation (redesign, re-engineer, realign and restructure) of LIAT!

      Just as with Henry II’s plaintive cry of “Will someone not rid me of this meddlesome priest” so is the cry from Prime Minister Madame Mottley to be rid of LIAT’s Debt which the IMF in Barbados’ Fiscal and Structural Adjustment Program demands! PM Mr. Gaston Browne is just as anxious to gain control of the iron Bird knowing that this is the last bite of “the sweetest mango!”

      Notwithstanding the Strategic Lifeline from Virgin with it’s new routes initiative from Gatwick and Heathrow for an alliance to improve airlift to under-served OECS destinations, GoAB must Seize the Time and Space to act in our Caribbean Civilization’s interest just as BA does with it’s Old Colonial Granted Caribbean Routes! No one should forget the DR Route! GoAB must be bold and as the PM will do, lead the way out of this “sandbagging” to a very nimble and urgent OECS holistic performance and transformation management recognizing the LONG MARCH along the SILK ROAD and look to assistance from the Motherland! Understand the Economic Geography of the Middle Passage!

      “If we wish to live up to our peoples’ expectations, we must seek the response elsewhere than in Europe.” – Fanon!

    • Liat needs capitalization, Barbados needs debt reduction, Antigua needs Liat. Why would Barbados seek a guarantee that staff would not be laid of in Barbados when they just executed a retrenchment as part of their IMF program?
      Browne was bold enough to tell IMF to take a hike. A move that Vice Chancellor Sir Beckles has applauded.
      Do we work in the interest of LIAT or in the interest of Barbados. Will the other shareholders agree for LIAT to issue additional shares. Will these shares be bought only by Antigua or are there other interested parties. In that case will Barbados just keep their shares and wait for a better offer at a later date. Or can they invoke the sales of the airplane in order to payoff their debt. Was the purchase of these planes conditional to additional shares for Barbados. Partners always try to take control of the company when the company is in dire need of capital. The same situation happened at Half Moon Bay. Kelly was the sole shareholder, but when he needed capital he turned to his friend and in the end friend turned in to enemy. This is typical playbook of this movie. I await to see our PM’s net move, as Mia doesn’t seem to want to blink.

      • The house money is on Gaston Browne to blink first. Without Barbados the collapse of LIAT is guaranteed.

    • Well good to know that Mia is not stupid, Cause Browne ain’t stupid either. Not like Lovell and Baldwin who were so stupid to let Barbados become the largest shareholder. It must have been like taking candy from a child

    • Exactly. He talks as if everyone out there is a retard. We all know you went to school, but dealing with people like this is a joke. That’s why Mia is taking her time with this. Everyone know hes up to know good when it comes to grabbling up assets with unknown source of funds.

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