Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle is concerned about the
partnership between the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and
the Nigerian carrier Air Peace, as the former workers of LIAT (1974)
Ltd. still await their severance and other payments.
The Gaston Browne Administration has entered into an agreement
in which Air Peace will have a 70 percent shareholding in the new
LIAT 2020, with Government the minority shareholder with a 30
And as this new partnership reportedly forges ahead – with plans to
wind up LIAT (1974) Ltd. – the former employees are calling for
their severance, gratuities, and benefits to be paid – more than three
years after they were let go.
Since then, Prime Minister Browne has offered what he terms a
“compassionate” payment of 32 percent of their settlement –
reduced from 50 percent – to the languishing former employees.
Their union, meanwhile, is asking for all of the workers’ benefits to
Pringle says the treatment that Browne is meting out to the workers
– after their years of service to LIAT – is unfair. They are entitled to
their settlement, he says, and Browne should stop peddling the idea
of a “compassionate” payment.
In the meantime, the Opposition leader is concerned that the
partnership with Air Peace appears to be another fiasco waiting to
happen, since the investor has legal issues to address in the United
With certain allegations pending, he says, it would not be wise for
the Government to get mixed up with the airline at this time.
The Opposition leader notes that some former workers are now
going through severe hardship because they were entirely
dependent upon their retirement package.
And instead of the Government being sensitive to the situation,
Pringle says, it is being cruel in forcing these ex-employees to accept
less than one third of the payment they are due.
He is also condemning PM Browne for shutting the Union out of the
negotiations for the workers’ rights and benefits.