St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Supports 50% Compassionate Payment Offer for Former LIAT Workers


St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonzalves, has voiced his support for Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s 50% compassionate payment offer to former LIAT workers, deeming it a reasonable proposition. Initially, the government of Antigua and Barbuda had proposed this compassionate payment as a resolution to the longstanding issue of severance payment for former LIAT employees.

However, the majority of the workers, comprising over 90%, rejected this initial offer. Prime Minister Browne, who also serves as the finance minister, has consistently argued that it’s the moral obligation of regional governments to address the severance payment matter for these former employees.

In recent discussions, Prime Minister Gonzalves defended Browne’s offer, emphasizing that considering the fiscal constraints and challenges faced by governments, a 50% payment along with the option of cash, lands, or bonds for the workers is not an unreasonable proposal. Nevertheless, this stance has sparked disagreements with the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU), which advocates for a 100% severance pay agreement, with a significant portion provided in cash and the rest in shares related to LIAT’s future derivatives.

Dr. Gonzalves, highlighting his commitment to fairness, acknowledged the challenges faced by various stakeholders, including small restaurateurs and hoteliers who are struggling on the economic margins. Simultaneously, negotiations are actively underway for the acquisition of the remaining assets of LIAT (1974) Ltd. by representatives of the new airline, LIAT (2020) Ltd., slated to replace the previous regional carrier.

This week’s Cabinet Notes revealed that the Cabinet engaged Development Commissioner Ambassador Daven Joseph in negotiations to establish a governing agreement between LIAT (2020) Ltd. and the principals of Air Peace. Additional negotiations are progressing with the Administrator of LIAT (1974) Ltd., Cleveland Seaforth, regarding the purchase of assets.

The media across the English-speaking Caribbean has emphasized the significance of LIAT as a vital development partner in the region, underscoring the necessity for its revival. While other states contemplate launching new airlines that won’t compete with LIAT’s existing routes, LIAT (2020) Ltd. has surged ahead, holding a lead of more than a year in efforts to replace LIAT (1974) Ltd. It is anticipated that LIAT (2020) Ltd. will outperform its competitors, bolstered by securing the Air Operating Certificate (AOC) and plans to operate a fleet of six aircraft.

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  1. Somebody tell me ,how much has St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves contributed to the severance payments of Liat employees? I heard of Barbados and Dominica. If I missed the other shareholder offer ,I ask for forgiveness.

  2. First, Ralph Gonsalves does not know jack turd about Antigua’s business. He himself said so. So where does he get off talking about Gaston’s 50% compassionate.

    Does he know where Gaston is going to get the land from to give these workers? Would he like it if it was the other way around and he had to go and explain to his people about giving land to workers?
    He is just grandstanding and looking for votes. Don’t know if it is here he looking them.

    Notice he never said that he will be siding with Gaston Browne and his Liat 2020.

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