Regional governments urged to help pay severance to former LIAT employees


Regional heads of government have been asked to help cover the cost of severance entitlements of over EC$70-million to former employees of regional carrier, LIAT.

In a letter dated January 22, the Court-appointed administrator, Cleveland Seaforth, said that as of April 2020, the total unpaid entitlements to workers across the region, amounted to EC$119,006,962. Of this amount EC$79,011,337 is in respect of the employee’s legal severance entitlements.

“Based on preliminary estimates, it is highly unlikely that any significant portion of the workers’ severance entitlement will likely result from the estate of LIAT (1974) Limited, upon its eventual liquidation,” Seaforth wrote.

“This likely eventuality is most unfortunate as over the years, notwithstanding the continued financial ill health of the company, the employees committed themselves and continued to provide service to the company,” he continued.

The administrator also pointed out that “the employees were of the firm view that by virtue of the company being primarily owned by the governments of the region, it was most unlikely that hardship would come to them, because there was an expectation that the company would never be abandoned by the respective governments.”

He stated further, that based on discussions with various unions in each of the territories, it is clearly evident that both the current and former workers are experiencing severe financial hardship and a high level of disappointment, in what is perceived as a lack of support from the respective governments.

Seaforth also pointed out that the government of Antigua and Barbuda believes it has a moral obligation to the former workers, but the onus is far too great for a single government.

He said the Antiguan government is prepared to offer the employees up to a maximum of 50 percent of their severance, through a combination of cash, land or government bonds.

He suggested that such an approach could be considered by other governments across the region and indicated his willingness to hold dialogue on the matter.

The Administrator also revealed that, to date, 564 workers have been terminated and as the restructuring process is completed, the remaining 103 employers will also be terminated.

The letter was addressed to the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

It was also copied to the CARICOM Secretary-General and several of the trade unions across the islands.

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  1. LOl ha ha ha ha ha what a bunch of jokers apparently the agreement that Barbados and st vincent would sell they shares for $1 dollar come with all liability at them Antigua.

  2. It is very unfortunate that the Administrator of Liat (1974) Limited is talking about the possiblity of the liquidation of Liat. The government of Antigua and Barbuda was quite clear that it could rescue Liat and that there were potential investors to come on board. No viable investors have so far come forward and it looks like the future of Liat is now very uncertain. The Administrator has indicated that the other regional governments (other than the 4 shareholder governments) could be exposed to legal liability because of comfort letters they have issued in the past on Liat’s behalf. However, while I have not seen the contents of the comfort letters, I doubt the exposure to legal liability since comfort letters are invariably not legally binding and only indicate intent. That being the case, it means that the government of Antigua and Barbuda is the main government responsible for meeting the financial obligations of Liat. As it stands now this is a herculean task, but given the ALP government’s mantra of “promise made promise kept”, I hope that Liat will be saved and all the suffering former employees will be paid their severance.

  3. Dictator Gaston tells private companies they must pay full severance to their employees and he has the audacity to tell former LIAT employees they won’t be getting their full severance. All those ministers and their families, close friends and ass kissers few for free. Keep on voting these criminals in and we will continue our downward spiral into oblivion. We do have one hope, China and when that happens, we will have new masters.

    Where are the murderers for Nigel Christian?

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