Former prime minister of Barbados, Owen Seymour Arthur, is the new Chairman of the regional airline, LIAT. Arthur replaces Barbadian, Dr Jean Holder, who retired last December.
Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister, Gaston Browne, is the first to welcome Arthur to his new position, saying that his chairmanship is among several changes being made to LIAT.
Browne said other changes would include the implementation of a proper reservations system and employee-hiring control.
“I don’t think there could be any better candidate” Browne said, recounting how Arthur had invested in the “survivability” of the airline during his tenure as prime minister of Barbados. He said now that LIAT is at a cross road again, he thinks Arthur is “the right person to help to lead LIAT out of its difficulties”.
The announcement comes a few weeks after prime minister Browne said that he met with the head of LIAT’s largest shareholder government, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley and the chairman of LIAT’s shareholder governments, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves to reach a consensus on the way forward for the failing airline.
Arthur, recognized as was the longest-serving Barbadian prime minister, served from September 6th, 1994 to January, 20th, 1999; January, 20th, 1999 to May, 21st, 2003; and from May, 21st, 2003 to January, 15th, 2008.
According to release from LIAT, Arthur currently serves as a Professor of Practice at the University of The West Indies. He has served the Caribbean as a learned Statesman including his work presiding over the Regional process to revise the Treaty of Chaguaramas to establish the Caribbean Single Market and Economy(CSME).
The new Board of Directors comprises the Rt. Hon. Prof. Owen S. Arthur as chairman, Mr. Michael Holder, Mr. Mark Maloney, Mr. Robert Riley, Mrs. Juanita Thorington-Powlett, Mr. Isaac Solomon, Mrs. Carolyn Tonge, Hon. Lennox Weston and Hon.Sir Robin Yearwood.
The new Directors bring to the airline and regional transportation sector over 100 years of combined aviation experience. The Directors have demonstrated exceptional records of performance and service to the industry and to the region.
The new Chairman has been tasked by the new Board to undertake a special assignment to meet with regional Prime Ministers to discuss the sustainability of the Airline. This assignment will be supported by other directors and the Management Team of the airline.
The LIAT release states that shareholders, management and Staff welcome the LIAT directors and look forward to working together with the new Board to foster and strengthen regional transportation and integration.
The primary issue with LIAT, remains the raising of capital for the airline, even while the other three existing shareholder governments commit to allocating money to recapitalize it.
Antigua and Barbuda will contribute the largest capital sum of USD $15 million, a sum they have already secured through Banco del ALBA. The goal is to accumulate 25 to 20 million dollars to revitalize LIAT.