LIAT engineer makes urgent appeal to save him from plunging into financial distress


(Barbados TODAY) — A dedicated LIAT engineer from Barbados, who has served the company for over 40 years, has made an urgent appeal to local authorities and the Antigua-based airline’s administrator to save him from plunging into financial distress.

Francis Ifill said he fears the loss of his severance pay and lifeline pension if his pressing issues are not promptly addressed.

In an emotionally charged interview with Barbados TODAY, Ifill disclosed that beyond the threat to his pension, he faces mounting debts, including a mortgage, while grappling with a medical condition that requires urgent attention, adding an element of life-and-death urgency to his situation.

At the core of Ifill’s struggle is his inability to qualify for severance pay, as he claims to be “held hostage” by LIAT’s court-appointed administrator in Antigua, Cleveland Seaforth.

Despite his role as engineer being made largely redundant, Ifill asserts that the administrator refuses to terminate his employment, leaving him in a perplexing limbo and preventing him from accessing the benefits he desperately needs.

The Antigua and Barbuda government is currently winding up LIAT 1974 Ltd, which was co-owned with Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica. The airline is to be replaced by LIAT 2020 which will see its controlling interest being divested to Nigerian carrier Air Peace.

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When the island-hopping carrier collapsed in 2020 89 Barbadian pilots, flight attendants and ground staff were dismissed.


The former employees engaged in a bitter, protracted struggle to receive severance payments. In early July, after three years of waiting, the former LIAT workers from Barbados who were among hundreds from across the region terminated by the airline, started collecting severance pay. This came two months after Mottley said in the Budget debate that Barbados would pay up to $75 000 in cash to each person and any amount above that would be paid in bonds.

However, since July 2020, Ifill has been on half pay, leaving him living “hand-to-mouth” and facing an uncertain future while the bills pile up.



He lamented the lack of communication about his future. He emphasised the irony of his situation, being the only LIAT employee not terminated to date, despite his role being redundant.

Desperate for resolution, he implored the authorities to intervene. He said: “It is starting to feel like I am being spited for just being a good worker. I have been trying to reach everybody [in authority] and I am going nowhere. I am in a pretty dire state because I am getting close to retirement, and I am getting close to a position where I will have nothing after putting in over 40 years of yeoman service, and nobody has been willing to tell me what my future holds.

“I am… out to sea because, to date, I have never been terminated by LIAT. I am the only person who has suffered that fate. And even though my position is largely redundant, LIAT administrator refuses to terminate me, for whatever reason I don’t know. I do absolutely nothing at this point in time, and I have sought for them to just terminate me so that I can qualify for severance and they have basically just refused.”


Ifill’s plea extends to the government, drawing a comparison with the proactive stance of the St Lucia government which paid out all its citizens who were made jobless when LIAT went into administration.

He emphasised that the assistance given to others, including nonnationals, should be extended to him as well.

He told Barbados TODAY: “What is hurtful about it is that you have the government of St Lucia who really started off the ball in helping LIAT workers. They have three persons who are still employed by LIAT 1974 Limited under administration. But when they paid their citizens, they paid everybody. They said, ‘as far as we are concerned, when LIAT went into administration, your services were terminated’.”

“Even though the Government of Barbados argued that it is not severance, it is a gift. That gift, where I am concerned, is tied to ‘but you weren’t severed’. And there is where I got a difficulty with them.”

“I can hardly make my bills, and in a few months when my age of retirement for LIAT comes up, I don’t know what happens to me… because I will have no income, I will have nothing if this continues,” the engineer said.

Ifill called on the administrator, Seaforth, to take a humane approach by issuing his termination letter.
He declared: “….Or it is in the hands of the government (and) the prime minister here to say, ‘well, let’s treat this one person that is left like we have treated all the others, and give him a gift, just as we’ve done for others’….”


In a separate development, some former LIAT employees in Barbados are still awaiting bonds that were promised by the Mia Mottley administration as part of the severance payment, Barbados TODAY has learned.

The government had allocated $10 million for compensation, assuring full reimbursement to those affected by LIAT’s mass terminations in 2020.

Efforts to reach Director of Finance Ian Carrington, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Francine Blackman, and Seaforth, have been unsuccessful.

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  1. And I was told the Bajan government had taken care of all LIAT workers from Barbados. Was the head of the Antigua Workers Union lying to the public?

    • I hope now you understand that what Mia says is not what Mia does. And sad enough you will not hear the Union mention anything about that. They will blame everything on Gaston Browne. Well let them go ahead. Gaston had offered them 50% of their severance and they said no they want 100%. Gasto said go and get the other 50% from the other shareholders. Bit the said no, cause they listened to their union ABWU.

      • It seems like the lot of you didn’t read or understand the article you just see Barbados and ready to get negative the engineer is still employed by liat on half pay smfh you just don’t like Barbados or bajans but whenever there is a crisis in ANB check to see who’s the first one assisting .

  2. Is this pilot confused? The severed Bajans were paid in cash and bonds by the Bim government. They expressed satisfaction at their payments. Odd that he only person not paid. What does Saint Lucia have to do with it? St. lucia paid out a small amount to their severed. Barbados paid out a whole lot more.

  3. The much bigger issue is that when a large company goes bust it is obviously not going to be able to meet any commitments to pay severance or pensions in the existing paradigm.. Regional governments need to come together to formulate an action plan which affords all workers the financial security that they have worked for. I would suggest a trust fund to be held by the ECCB that accumulates contributions from all workers in the region. This can then be used when it is necessary to make up for shortfalls in severance and pensions payments. A proper insurance plan in secure hands out of reach of money grubbing politicians.

  4. Desperate times mean desperate majors, if your right hand offended you cut it off, we talk too much in this country, and if sacrifices are not made those in authority will not stop abusing their power

  5. All LIAT(1974)LTD workers should be compensated regardless where ever they work,.which the 4 SHAREHOLDER GOVERNMENTS are responsible for paying all the workers their SEVERANCE/PENSION.

  6. All LIAT (1974) LTD workers should be compensated regardless where ever they work,which the 4 SHAREHOLDER GOVERNMENTS are responsible for paying all the workers their SEVERANCE/PENSION.

    • The Antigua and Barbuda government was willing to settle 50% of the severance, but they declined to accept it.

  7. You waved your rights you had a DEMOCRATIC RIGHT to refuse HALF SALARY and allow LIAT (1974)LTD to terminate your employment.Then you would have been entitled to the so called gift like the 89 chosen few BARBADOS base employees who received 100% of SEVERANCE.What about hundreds of workers in the OECS ISLANDS that also gave YEOMAN service to LIAT (1974) LTD. They are also in dire needs,have no money to buy food,feed their families,pay medical bills and are living hand to mouth,they are being DESCRIMATED BY THE 4 SHARE HOLDER GOVERNMENTS.You are receiving HALF INCOME.They are receiving NOTHING.They are looking for the same thing you are looking for-their severance which is rightfully due to them by LAW.

  8. Once you wave your RIGHTS and accept HALF SALARY you have forego your YEARS OF SERVICE.The remaining CRONIES if severed are entitled to the time they accept HALF SALARY to the time of being severed pro rated × half salary do the maths.Up to the legal scholars interpretation.

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