Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Brown have urged Caribbean governments that are not major shareholders of regional airline LIAT to change that status by giving meaningful financial support to the airline.
Both made that appeal at the recent CDB sponsored seminar on making air transport work better for the Caribbean. Gonsalves spoke in his capacity as Chairman of the group of shareholder governments of LIAT.
Browne said, while LIAT must seek to improve its operations, the airline needs to be subsidized, arguing that LIAT is making a significant contribution to the integration process and should be supported by the governments of the region.
It’s not clear what the position of the new Team Unity administration in St Kitts and Nevis on LIAT will be. Former Prime Minister Denzil Douglas said his government had in its last six months in office been taking a critical look at the LIAT problem.
Douglas said under consideration was the use of the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF) funds to help Basseterre become a major shareholder of LIAT.
A CDB commissioned study on the regional airline industry proposes the setting up a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) airlines association to identify opportunities to reduce cost, create greater synergies and earn more revenue.