Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Brown has made good on his intention to bid for the purchasing of Barbados shares in cash trapped LIAT.
In fact, the Government this week officially submitted a document to authorities in Barbados indicating its interest in purchasing the shares that country owns in the cash-strapped regional airline LIAT.
Browne confirmed in an interview with our freelance reporter in St John’s this week, that the proposal was submitted Tuesday and the government is anticipating a favourable response.
“We are looking towards the sustainability and viability of LIAT. We now have to await a response from Barbados and then we will develop an action plan on the way forward,” Browne said.
His decision comes on the heels of a recent meeting of LIAT’s shareholder governments in Antigua.
During the meeting, Browne presented the proposal which involves, among other things, a way to finance the retention of the three planes owned by the Caribbean Development Bank.
There was also a suggestion that the planes be sold as part of the downsizing of LIAT and there is agreement among some shareholders that this is a matter which merits very serious consideration.
The shareholder governments have been asking other Caribbean governments to provide financial assistance to the Antigua-based airline that services 15 Caribbean countries.
St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Grenada have responded positively to the call for raising US $5.4 million to help the airline deal with its current financial problems.
Antigua’s leader has insisted, “My government is determined that LIAT should remain in the air and we will oppose any decision to collapse the airline.”
Meantime, according to recent reports, Grenada has joined Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to become the fifth shareholder in LIAT.