Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne on Thursday, wrote to his colleague Heads who are shareholders in LIAT 1974 Ltd., calling on them to reconsider the decision to liquidate the airline and, instead, to give meaningful consideration to reorganising it.
In his letter, Prime Minister Browne was quick to emphasise that a technical report already exists that could be the blueprint for deliberation of reorganisation.
“My Government looks forward to receiving an early response from you on the proposal for reorganisation which would not only maintain LIAT 1974’s essential service to all our countries, but would also keep faith with LIAT’s creditors and employees, and put in place management policies and plans to make the airline return sufficient profits not to require subsidies by governments,” the PM pointed out.
Prime Minister Browne also noted that his Government remains convinced that LIAT 1974 Ltd could be reorganised for the benefit of the Caribbean’s people; to continue to provide the essential bridge between the nations of the region; to satisfy obligations, at least partially, to creditors and employees through negotiations; and to turn the airline into a leaner, more efficient service that could be profitable.
He said that in as much as LIAT 1974 Ltd, has been saddled with many challenges, its loss was $12 million last year. “A reorganised operation, efficiently managed, could turn around to produce modest profits,” he noted.
As a contingency arrangement, Prime Minister Browne told Prime Minister Mia Motley of Barbados, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica, that should they decide not to consider the reorganisation of LIAT 1974 Ltd, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda intends to launch LIAT 2020 Ltd as early as possible.
He said that the Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet has given the green light for officials to register the name, and therefore seek the shareholders release of the trademark to allow LIAT 2020 Ltd to be registered.
On June 29, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves wrote to workers of LIAT advising that Directors and Shareholders will be meeting last weekend to consider the closure of the airline. Prime Minister Browne said that at the meeting a majority decision was made to liquidate the airline with no further discussion, an occurrence to which he objected. (ENDS)