ST. Lucia Government reiterates position on LIAT

The St. Lucia government Monday reiterated its position that unless there’s a fundamental change to the operating structure of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, Castries would not be investing financially in the airline.

“If St. Lucia’s going to buy shares, it’s going to be buying shares into an entity that we know is free to make whatever commercial decisions must be made,” said Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

“I don’t mind being a shareholder, going to my annual shareholder meeting, and if in fact the management is not doing a good job then you fire the management. I don’t believe governments themselves should be involved in the day-to-day operations of the airline,” he added.

 The major shareholders of the Antigua-based airline are the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Last week, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said progress had been made regarding the future direction of the regional airline, following a more than four hour meeting in Barbados.

The Barbados meeting was held against the move by the shareholders to get Caribbean countries to contribute a total of US$5.4 million in emergency funding need to keep the airline in the sky. At the same time, 11 destinations had been given until March 15, to respond to the airline’s minimal revenue guarantee (MRG) proposals.