St. Lucia Tourism Minister: ‘We Miss LIAT’


Saint Lucia’s Tourism Minister, Dr. Ernest Hilaire, has spoken up on behalf of LIAT, while observing the need for regional travel capacity and acknowledging the airline’s shortcomings. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP FOR NEWS UPDATES.

“We need LIAT,” Hilaire told a meeting of the Island’s Tourism Advisory Committee on Thursday.

“We actually do not have high regional travel right now and regional travel was probably our second largest source of arrivals in 2019 and we virtually have no regional travel and we are already up to 75-80 percent of what we were in 2019 without a significant regional travel component. And it is an issue that I am going to raise with the Prime Minister in a very detailed way. What can we do to provide greater support to LIAT to get LIAT functioning once again?” The Tourism Minister said.

“The situation that we are in right now shows the foolhardiness of the views that were held in the past about LIAT,” Hilaire declared.

“Yes, we must all agree LIAT was not the best example of a well-run, well-managed company. There are a lot of criticisms of LIAT but we have had experiences over decades that when others came, promised a lot and failed to deliver, we always had to go back and rely on LIAT with all its deficiencies,” Hilaire remarked.

According to the Minister, Saint Lucia was notorious in the last few years for criticising LIAT, undermining the airline, and ‘really cheering for LIAT’s downfall’.

“That’s a fact. And look at what COVID has exposed. It has really exposed out naked behinds. All the others that came to promise and said they were committed to this region, where are they and now we are begging for LIAT to come back,” Hilaire asserted.

“Just imagine if LIAT had fifteen, 20 flights a day into Saint Lucia with all its deficiencies wouldn’t we welcome that than what we have now? The point is we need a regional travel capacity that we have influence over, that we can control and we know operates in our best interest,” he told the Tourism Advisory Committee meeting.

He said Saint Lucia needs regional travel capacity that will serve its interests.

In this regard, the Tourism Minister spoke of the need to sit down to discuss how Saint Lucia can contribute to getting LIAT functioning a lot better than it is currently and increase the airline’s capacity because this country’s tourism industry needs a strong region travel capacity.

“I can tell you as the Minister also responsible for Creative Industries and the organizing of Carnival we’re missing it. We are doing very well, but a lot of the visitors we have that are going to be coming in are coming in from international markets and not so many from the regional markets,” Hilaire explained.

And while noting that Caribbean Airlines had added ‘a couple more flights’, the Minister said that’s still not enough. — St. Lucia Times


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  1. Finally some common sense from St. Lucia on LIAT. All we have been hearing from St. Lucia on LIAT for the past decades is doom and gloom. Chastanet wanted to destroy LIAT. Covid has opened the regions collective eyes to the invaluable service that LIAT provided. We did not appreciate it when we had it but now that it is gone, we miss it and want it to return, just like a long lost girlfriend who left because of mistreatment. Let us hope that these islands can all now come together and agree to fund a new LIAT going forward. Put all those former LIAT pilots and staff back to work. Any island that does not contribute should not receive service from LIAT. Time for selfishness is over.

  2. The region desperately needs LIAT. However, a stream-lined and more efficiently run LIAT, with lower taxes to offer lower ticket prices. Bring LIAT back.

  3. If liat is ever to be revived, it must be run like a corporation, with management independent of shareholder governments. The idea that ministers of shareholder governments have to micro manage the company has to end. And when there is a shortfall of revenue, shareholder governments have to be prepared to inject money into the corporation. Most government owned airlines sometimes need an injection of government funds to survive. The Caribbean governments have to look beyond their selfishness and think of the broader economics.
    No outside airline is coming into the region unless the routes are profitable.

  4. One thought or two.
    Our Caribbean space, Caricom!
    This must be our mantra, repeated over and over and over:
    “…….The point is we need a regional travel capacity that we have INFLUENCE OVER, that we can CONTROL and we know OPERATES IN OUR BEST INTEREST. ….” That MUST be our postcolonial thinking for our economic growth and social development.

  5. I wrote about this a long ,long time ago. That the benefits of Liat to the Caribbean people should not be just measured in direct dollars and cents. Let us look at tourism for example, the major carriers do a drop off in Barbados and LIAT will pick up the passengers and distribute them to the various islands. These islands boast of the profits made from these arrivals. Spin off in taxes , employment in the hotels, restaurants, taxi and vendors. LIAT as we were aware operated at a loss in so doing.
    Then the social and cultural aspects- carnival, visiting families, funeral name it . Also revenue for these countries.
    Education- Our students going to regional universities Parent and family members to graduations . LIAT also transported students from all over the world to our universities , which is a big economic spin off.
    Sports- LIAT supported our regional cricket in the West Indies glory days. We are able to travel throughout the region to watch regional and international cricket. Party cricket- our regional economies benefited again. LIAT did not.
    Our governments , professional organizations, regional meetings All LiAT.
    Cargo- LIAT transported all sorts of cargoes , vegetables, fish ,meat, heard of an instance when Crabs got away out of a bag, taken to one carnival.
    I can go on and time and space will not permit. In the mean while our Caribbean politicians ramped up wealth. Ripped off our economies and in a few short years of representation ending up getting full retirement salaries. If we get back 10 percent of all that were stolen by these same politicians that ride on LIAT , them and their concubines for free. We can more than carry all the tabs that LIAT is required. When there is no vision the people will perish. Where there are thieves the people are going to perish even more. Down with the politicians and up with LIAT.
    We will be worst off without LIAT. They are now talking about boats etc.
    LIAT fails , regional integration must fail. LIAT spare headed regional integration. I never saw LIAT as a business, I saw it as a great Caribbean institution. Even Caribbean country should have been paying subscription ( someone can find a better word) to LIAT. Big brother pay for small because LIAT went to the countries even with a had full of passengers for the many valuable reasons listed above.
    LIAT made millionaires out of many Caribbean people. LIAT is our INSTITUTION!

  6. St lucia never injected any funds into Liat, yet so many flights into Vigie on a daily basis. Now Minister Hilaire wants Liat to come back. Stupse, Only now you all missing Liat?🤔

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