Another opposition pitch aimed at having Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrt explain fully, the $8 million dollar investment he has announced that Dominica is making in regional airline LIAT.
United Workers Party Leader Edison James told a press conference on Wednesday that there are still many unanswered questions about the proposed arrangement.
According to the UWP leader, some things just don’t add up in relation to that deal.
“How many shares will our $8 million be buying, where are these shares coming from, are there new issues of shares, are they shares that are being bought from current share holders, what’s the value of those shares and what is the expected return on those shares,” James inquired.
“We’ve heard that our concern is that we should have a seat at the table with respect to routes and these other things,” he added.
According to former prime minister James, St Vincent and the Grenadines bought a seat at the LIAT table “and a very important seat it would appear with $2.9 million dollars as declared by Mr. Gonzales (SVG Prime Minister)”.
Comparing that quoted figure with Dominica’s proposed $8 million cash injection, the UWP leader queried why was it necessary for Dominica to be putting such a substantial amount into the regional carrier.
“Is it that this money is really not primarily about buying shares and equity, but it has to do with the night landing arrangement, where Liat as I understand has been having difficulties with increased cost associated with providing the night landing service, and were raising concerns with the government of Dominica about how they could be compensated with regard to that increased cost,” James said.
He says Prime Minister Skerrit needs to clear the air on that matter.
Meanwhile the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) has been quoting Prime Minister Skerrit as saying that the airline has been working with the government to facilitate air travel into the island and that the decision to become a shareholder in the airline would further improve airlift.
According to CMC, he said LIAT had already introduced two flights to accommodate night landings in Dominica allowing Dominicans to take advantage of late connections from North America and Europe from Barbados and Antigua & Barbuda.
“We’re appreciative of LIAT for this … and as a matter of fact, we already started discussions with LIAT in light of the situation confronting American Eagle, to see whether they could re-instate the direct flight from San Juan to Dominica to facilitate our people who would be flying into Puerto Rico and who find Puerto Rico to be the more accessible hub to get to Dominica,” Prime Minister Skerrit is quoted as saying.
“But we can’t go and make those demands on LIAT when we see LIAT has its own challenges and we just sit idly by criticising LIAT at every opportunity we get,” the prime minister said.
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