Dominica PM says regional governments need to invest in constructs like LIAT


Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Monday praised his Antigua and Barbuda counterpart, Gaston Browne, for his efforts in keeping the inter-regional airline, LIAT, in the skies, but acknowledged the need for governments to invest in inter-regional travel.

“I recognized as Prime Minister of the country the important and unprecedented role that LIAT has played and was playing at the time to intra-regional travel,” Skerrit told a news conference as he defended his administration’s decision a few years ago to become a shareholder in the debt-ridden airline.

He said LIAT was helpful to Dominica, especially after natural disasters “and I do not believe there is any other entity that can be reasonably expected to replace the functions of LIAT in the region.

“Governments investment in air transportation in the region cannot be replaced by private sector investments only. Governments must invest in inter-regional travel because inter-regional travel for so many islands is really a public good.”

“While you want entities to run professionally and great accountability, greater transparency there are a set of things you don’t expect from them because they have to fly into areas that a commercial airline, running as a private investment will not want to go into, you understand and that’s where LIAT was important”.

Gaston Browne said last week that Antigua and Barbuda seems to be on its own with regard to the establishment of a new company to replace LIAT (1974) Limited which collapsed in 2020.

The Antigua-based LIAT (1974) Limited, entered into administration in July 2020 following increased debt and the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But Browne said he now recognizes that “Antigua and Barbuda is practically standing alone in terms of having an entity that is owned by a group of governments.

“What seems to be the prevailing thinking at this time is that most heads are of the view that there are sufficient assets within the region. In fact, there is a study that was done by the Caribbean Development Bank as well as the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) and that was the meeting I attended in St. Lucia, and the consensus was that there are sufficient assets to service the region.”

Browne said that there are “primarily private sector held assets and they don’t see the need for the governments to invest in any national airline or regional airline”.

LIAT, before entering into administration had been servicing several regional destinations and has since scaled down its operations and is now servicing Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten.

In February, the Guyana government said while it has not committed to investing in the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, it nonetheless wants to be “part of a solution for regional air transport”.


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  1. Well Skerrit, join Gaston Browne, put your money where your mouth is and let’s get LIAT 2020 of the ground. Don’t waste any more time. Time is money. Cause while we are wasting time, others are trying to fill the void that LIAT has left behind. We cannot allow them to even get foot on the ground.

  2. The other Caribbean states should get together and save liat. Barbados will probably never be part of any deal unless liat is headquartered there.

  3. The name LIAT means Leeward Islands Air Transportation. And we need to keep it between the Leeward Islands. We need to stop trying to make it a Caribbean Islands Air Transportation. If we want to expand the reach, we need to change the name. And we already have an Airline with the name “Caribbean Airlines”. Perhaps we need to take the name back from Marvelous Mike and call our new airline rightfully “Antigua and Barbuda Airline”. In short ABA.
    Certain enterprises it is best you go it alone and take the good and bad. look how they laughed at the PM when he decided to give a plane to the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force. But to date this single plane has been very useful. Bringing sick persons from Barbuda and even transporting the PM and other Prime Minister from the region to St. Kitts for an important meeting at the Monitory Council. If we had started Antigua and Barbuda Airlines, we won’t be wondering how we would fly to other Islands. The country needs to make the sacrifice and start the airline in the interest of us all. And we will have to charge others that want to use our airline premium rates. Antigua and Barbuda Passport holders will get a special rate.

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