LIAT negotiations between Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda have broken down – reports

LIAT Crew and Staff POS

Barbados TODAY investigations have revealed that talks between the teams from Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados, which took place last Monday at the Hilton Hotel lasted only a few hours before stalling.

The visiting team subsequently left the island without a deal being reached.

Barbados’ negotiation team was led by Attorney General Dale Marshall and also included Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds and Director of Finance and Economic Affairs Ian Carrington.

While efforts to reach Marshall proved unsuccessful, according to reports, the home team was not impressed with what Antigua and Barbuda brought to the negotiating table.

A source out of Antigua and Barbuda told Barbados TODAY it did not appear a deal would be struck anytime soon.

“The outcome so far does not reflect that the two sides are anywhere close to Barbados selling even a portion of its sales. It does not look probable for the near future,” the source added.

The source revealed that among the sticking points to Barbados selling its 49.4 per cent majority stake in LIAT was Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s insistence that Antigua and Barbuda would have to take up Barbados’ almost $100 million loan commitments.

That debt is due mainly to a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) which was used to purchase three LIAT aircraft.

Additionally, the well-placed source said Barbados’ negotiators had also asked for a guarantee from St John’s that LIAT staff in Brigetown would not be sacrificed at the expense of staff from Antigua and Barbuda.

The source pointed out that Barbados was not fearful of LIAT pulling any of its flights from the island, as Barbados accounted for five of the six profitable routes travelled by the cash-strapped regional airline.

“Any move to pull LIAT flights out of Barbados would lead to an immediate collapse of the airline,” the source maintained.

LIAT serves 15 Caribbean destinations with almost 500 flights.

The breakdown in talks has come just over a month after Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne announced that Barbados had agreed to sell almost all of its shares.

The sale would make Antigua and Barbuda, which currently has a 34 per cent ownership in LIAT, the majority owner.

Following Browne’s declaration and after weeks of speculation, Mottley revealed Government’s plans to sell its shares.

In explaining her reasons for offering the shares for sale, the Prime Minister maintained that Barbados simply was not in a financial position to support LIAT due to the country’s current economic position and as a result had made a decision to “take a step back”.

While admitting the regional airline was in need of an overhaul, the Prime Minister promised that Barbados would continue to support intra-regional travel.

“The current model which LIAT has within the 1974 limited is not an attractive model and what is needed is significant restructuring; indeed a new model of governance, a new financial model and a new operational model in order for it to be able to extract greater benefits and provide the services which it does,” Mottley said at the time.
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  1. Do we really need majority shares in LIAT that badly? You know how many Antigua roads $100 million can build? Leave them with their shares.

    • Do you understand that taking over a loan does not translate in passing any money to Barbados. It’s simply accepting the liability as yours now. And for that you get shares in return.
      Barbados is soon learning that Antigua under this Gaston Browne administration is not an easy pushover like the UPP that allowed Barbados to become the majority shareholder because of the very same reason that they the UPP were broke and could not support LIAT.

      • “simply accepting the liability as yours now and taking the shares”. You do realize that the $100M liability plus interest does have to be paid? You make it sound like it is nothing to take over a $100M loan.

        • And you do understand that our government is not agreeing to take over $100 million debt. That is why we are negotiating. And then when we do agree on an amount it will have to be paid back to the CDB in monthly, quarterly or annual installments plus interest. No cash is going to Barbados. And the repayment will be over several years. .And in case you didn’t know we do already have a road program going on. The very same CDB has lend us the funds to take care of our roads. And not like the UPP did with spending a billion dollar on roads and have no good roads to show for it. Money just wasted.

        • All is fine and dandy in LaLa land, can’t pay pensioners, can’t pay contractors, can’t pay overtime or backpay, can’t even pay salaries on time but..
          100 million is a walk in the park for these paid choir singers,,
          Nothing to see here moving right along

        • They can keep their debt like a MILLSTONE AROUND THEIR NECK. Hope she is meeting those IMF payments on time.


        • You think this is the inept UPP she has to deal with. Our guys are tough negotiators. Barbados will have to come down if they are serious and fair. Antigua is not just a dumping place for debt.

          • Enough with the long talk already show the money. What’s become of financier Sir Allen Stanford was he a citizen of Antigua? Just asking.

      • well when you negotiate a price you always start every how. And then the bidding goes down until you reach at a middle ground. But you have to support your arguments as well.
        What I want to know is the value of the three planes. That is all Barbados can get. And then how many share they think that value represent. They may end up with more shares than they wanted to stay with. And therefore still would have to put a substantial amount in LIAT to keep it running. Maybe they can find some money to put in LIAT and therefore do not have to sell their shares any longer.

        • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! Looks like my comments on this issue due to the differing suggestions raised have disappeared into cyberspace! Notwithstanding the lack of publishing, As MacArthur said, “I came through and I shall return!” Here’s another effort!

          As we look at the Caribbean and Lucayan Highways and the off-ramps that connect these SIDS in LIAT’s transportation network, one must ask “Could a man’s existence be like a bridge, poised between the water that birthed him, and the earth that would bury him.” Harsh Rhyder from Edgar O Lake’s The Devil’s Bridge!

          What you have refused to accept is Barbados’ poor liquidity situation and its dependency on and with the IMF Fiscal and Structural Adjustment Plan! They must reduce their debt burden and reduce their holdings in State Owned Entities and The Private Sector! Note Bien! The Global Ports discussion!

          “Under its current form, that is imperialism-controlled, debt is a cleverly managed re-conquest …, aiming at subjugating growth and development through foreign rules. Thus, each one of us becomes the financial slave, which is to say a true slave…” – Capitaine Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara, assassinated in 1987.pan-Africanist and President led Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987!

  2. This $100 million quoted in the talks.Is it US$ and or EC$.One hundred million is a hundred million any where.However the currency surely makes a huge difference.So ANR,please spell it out for all.Would they be able to buy the assets of Scotia Bank and Flow? When dem no hab no money.

    • The shares of a company in financial distress are almost worthless, but one will not just look at the value today but at potential earnings in years to come. 30 years down the road. And that will probably paint a much better picture. Also the market. How badly does Antigua wants the shares. That is really at play here. And how bad does Barbados want to get rid of the shares. High Stake Poker Game. Who will blink first. Does Antigua want to safe LIAT at ALL COST or does Barbados want to please the IMF at ALL COST.

    • I guess you have short memory. When we took office the country was broke. Yet we manage to buy WIOC without having a cent. A deal the UPP could not close. We didn’t have money to solve the ABIB debacle. Yet we did solve it. Even though it is still a work in progress and will be for many years to come. Meanwhile receiver Samuel-Fields making lots of money trying to recover the bad debt accounts that ECAB said it doesn’t want. So when you wonder where they will find the money, I say leave that to the World Boss. Only he alone knows.

  3. A&B PM may think he knows money, however PM of Barbados is the toughest leader in the Caribbean. Let the bargaining begin!

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