LIAT gets timely boost with pledge of support from Grenada PM


OBSERVER Newsco: Sustained efforts from Prime Minister Gaston Browne to revitalise regional carrier LIAT, received a timely boost in the past couple of days with a declaration of support from Grenadian Prime Minister, Dickon Mitchell.

“It’s difficult for me to see why our previous administration did not see the need to support LIAT. I mean, now that we don’t have it, I think we really understand the crucial role that LIAT played in regional travel, regional integration, fostering closer ties, and economic and cultural development, certainly within the OECS”, Mitchell declared during an interview with Good Morning Saint Lucia late last week.

“So, I’m certainly committed [and] my government is committed to doing all that we can to support LIAT or any other version of LIAT that can provide the services that we so desperately need for regional travel.”

Since LIAT was forced to temporarily shutter operations back in 2020, PM Browne has been on a campaign to return the airline, albeit with a slightly different name, to its former glory days.

He has been lobbying LIAT’s fellow shareholder governments – Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines – to support his vision to restructure the airline and keep it flying, rather than to liquidate it.

Just last month, the government revealed that a proposal is on the table for LIAT’s expansion, with several operational changes intended to make the carrier more efficient. These include applying minimum revenue guarantees, maintaining a reduced fleet of aircraft, and keeping “salaries, wages and other emoluments” low.

Those plans could form part of the wider subregional discussions on air transport which, according to Mitchell, could come to fruition in a matter of months.

“I’m happy to indicate that, in fact, while in St Lucia [recently], OECS Heads would have had a caucus and we recommitted to redoubling our efforts to address the issue of regional air transportation.

“We have a follow-up call with the Caribbean Development Bank for the second of August, and so we really are hoping that by the end of the year, we can come to our citizens with concrete proposals as to how we intend to address this issue,” Mitchell said.

The lawyer-turned-politician also voiced his willingness to reduce the cost of air travel into his country – a move that could inspire countries similarly dependent on tourism, particularly in the context of a vulnerable international market.

“In the case of Grenada, we subsidise international travel. We subsidise American Airlines, we subsidise British Airways to come to Grenada, and so I make bold by saying I have no hesitation in subsidising regional air travel to and from Grenada.

“It’s very important to us as a people, as we try and build our Caribbean civilization, [and] it’s very important to our tourism in Grenada,” the PM added.

As Mitchell mentioned, regional leaders were scheduled to meet with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) yesterday, to further talks on the way forward for regional transportation.

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  1. Gaston Browne the visionary man of the Caribbean. Mia and Ralph would have buried LIAT long ago. But thanks to Gaston Browne who was determine to stand his ground. You never miss the water until the well runs dry.

  2. The same PM that would not allow the move to Batbados now wants to be the saviour?
    The same PM that didn’t want job losses in Antigua but in the end MANY did lose their jobs?
    We all know how LIAT was abused by the same LEADERS, the go to for a “beg” job position.
    The airline had managers of managers and supervisors of supervisors; highly over staffed.
    Now, you want to run it efficiently when the “BARBADOS WELL” dried up?
    Come on…keep it real.

  3. 1)The same PM that would not allow the move to Batbados now wants to be the saviour?
    Why would he give the headquarters away to Barbados and let Antigua suffer? Only an inept person like Harold would have allowed that. Just like how he allowed Barbados to have become the majority shareholder. And also allowed St. Lucia to hold majority shares in ECAB. He comes as dumb as they are.

    2)The same PM that didn’t want job losses in Antigua but in the end MANY did lose their jobs?
    And that all because of Barbados and St. Vincent who would rather see LIAT liquidated than to have rescued the airline.

    Shareholder governments have to bite the bullet and take the decisions in the interest of the entire community. That selfishnish from Barbados comes from the mandate of the IMF.

    • # sideline you and browne boy would love to blame Barbados for all of Antigua problems but less you forgot is wasn’t browne decision to make weather liat had stay or leave Antigua Stanford had just folded and he beg like a dog not to remove liat saying that was all we have now and the Barbados government take petty yes you might have you’re head up browne boy but or you might be browne boy himself but if anyone to take the majority of the blame it would have to be Antigua before governments can put more money into liat they must be an investigation into the missing millions by a private body to get to the bottom.

  4. Sidelines: You are a LIAR. Barbados reasons for giving up on LIAT has nothing to do with any mandate by the IMF. Mia Mottley in my opinion did not want to deal with Gaston Browne.Have you ever wondered.Why other Caribbean Leaders run like hell when they see him coming.

    What is a PLEDGE? I have made a PLEDGE to sell some Ocean Front Properties in Bendals. What LIAT needs now,yesterday and tomorrow is CASH. Yes,Green Backs in hand not a Pledge. Many persons I have known made Pledges to give and never fulfilled those promises of Pledges. Grenada,give the cash,signed a contract and move on from there. A Pledge of Support and blowing hot air equals nothing.

      Perhaps this article will refresh your memory. Our PM Gaston Browne is admired everywhere he goes except at home by the haters. Remember the red-carpet treatment he received in Guyana.
      Who was chosen as Chair and Spoke person of the Alliance of Small Islands State at the COP 26.
      Who was chosen as spokesperson for Caricom on D-Risking to negotiate with the USA and ensure that our banks in the region did not lose their corresponding banking relationship with US Banks?
      The list goes on and on. Our PM is appreciated and respected all over the world. And he has been invited as a featured speaker at many international conferences on finance. Remember his earlier concept of Entrepreneurial Socialism. In St. Lucia reporters said they wish they had a PM like that. And so did the reporters in the Bahamas when he took on Sandals and Scotia bank. Now everyone is seeing the wisdom and reaping the fruits of those foreign banks being sold to local banks. ECAB and ACB can now boast of being bigger banks. Not because of anything that they have done to achieve that, but just because we had a bold PM that stood his ground.


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