The Antigua and Barbuda Government should privatize LIAT (1974) Ltd within Antigua and Barbuda and not seek a Caribbean partnership for LIAT. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP FOR NEWS UPDATES.
The Antigua and Barbuda Government should get out of the airline business. The fact of the matter is that Governments are not good at running business, in particular airline business, and I think that Caribbean Governments should be no more than being facilitators of a future LIAT.
Giving the Barbados Government majority shareholding in LIAT was a big mistake. Let us not repeat that mistake.
LIAT is based in Antigua and Barbuda and mostly employs Antigua and Barbuda workers. I think LIAT can start small again and expand rapidly throughout the Caribbean, but the airline should be owned within the Antigua and Barbuda Private sector, and the Antigua and Barbuda Government should move quickly to engage the local Private Sector, and hand over LIAT with all its problems to the new owners.
A future LIAT should also be run by a Private Company and not go public until the appropriate time. A new LIAT will also have to move quickly to acquire ownership of real estate property – I mean own an office building – so that it can approach a local bank for financing, such as overdraft to carry it through the slow season, as required.
Caribbean Governments can then become facilitators by imposing reasonable landing fees and ticket taxes, if they really want to accommodate LIAT.
Once LIAT (1974) Ltd is being privatized and Government is out of the airline business, it will now be the responsibility of the new owners to reemploy former LIAT workers and assume responsibility for past severance and other compensation payments, as part of the deal.
There is no need for past severance liability to be settled before LIAT returns to operation under Privatization arrangements. Infact, former LIAT employees who are owed severance payments can be offered shares in the new airline as part of the liability. The most urgent thing now is for former LIAT employees to return to the job site, and start earning money as soon as possible (ASAP).