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PM Says Shareholders Must Save LIAT

Wednesday 27th February, 2019-Prime Minister Gaston Browne says shareholder governments of LIAT need to do what is necessary to save the regional airline.

Speaking to reporters in Basseterre, the prime minister said, “Whatever is necessary to save LIAT will be quintessential for all stakeholders to cooperate, it doesn’t matter the sacrifice that is required we all have to make sure that we play a role to keep LIAT in the air. That is absolutely important for connectivity for air transportation within the region and sacrifices have to be made and those sacrifices should be made readily by all stakeholders.”

According to WINN FM, Mr. Browne made reference to the Barbados position on LIAT.

“I think what they are concerned about is taking on additional debt. LIAT has debt at the Caribbean Development Bank and they are asking the four shareholder governments to take over. Antigua and Barbuda has readily agreed to assume $US16 million dollars of that debt, I think that Barbados is saying that it’s in IMF program and there is some difficulty but I am pretty sure that in order to save LIAT they will go the extra mile and that they will take over their portion of the debt.”

When asked if he would encourage the other shareholder governments to do that Browne said, “Absolutely, LIAT is an essential service, you can’t have a successful integration movement and not have the ability to move people.”

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Only four regional governments: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are funding LIAT’s operation.

In 2018, the four countries finalized a US $7 million loan, intended to offset the revenues lost when some LIAT flights were halted as a result of several hurricanes that passed through the region in 2017. Dominica was exempted from contributing due to Hurricane Maria’s destruction there.

Of the US$7 million loan, SVG is charged with paying 12 per cent or US$840,000. Antigua and Barbuda will pay 35 per cent and Barbados 53 per cent.

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