Tourism Minister Ian Douglas says he is firmly behind Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s decision to pump millions of dollars into cash-strapped regional air carrier LIAT.
Prime Minister Skerrit’s announcement that Dominica will invest EC$8 million into the airline has been criticized by United Workers Party (UWP) leader Edison James, who called on the prime minister to explain the exact nature of the promised contribution.
Close associate of PM Skerrit, attorney Anthony Astaphan has since explained that Prime Minister Skerrit has decided “in the public interest of this country to invest in LIAT as an equity share holder”..
The government had earlier indicated its intention to fully re-engage with LIAT, the main airline serving Dominica.
Tourism Minister Douglas in defending the decision, said “this year the budget figures will show that tourism will gross in excess of 250 or more million dollars into the Dominican economy”.
“Tourism is the greatest foreign exchange earner and the bulk of that money is maybe even more than that – 65-70 per cent is generated through our stay-over side of the industry that is to say the persons who come in and stay in our hotels and visit our sites and so on and Liat is the main carrier,” he explained.
Douglas said he was speaking on behalf of all the tourism stakeholders in fully supporting the proposed injection of Dominican funds into LIAT.
“I speak on behalf of all the tourism stake holders, I think it’s a brilliant idea and we have to play our part,” the minister said.
UWP’s Edison James wanted to know whether the decision to invest in LIAT was based on any positive projection for the company and what the possible returns would be for Dominica.
Parliamentary opposition leader Hector John in backing the call of his party leader, urged the prime minister to clear the air on that matter in the interest of transparency and proper accountability.
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