PM calls for more regional support for LIAT

 Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has called on Caribbean governments to come on board and contribute to the financing of cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT.

He said on Talking Point on DBS Radio on Wednesday that LIAT has contributed significantly to countries in the region.

“I think first of all, all governments needs to come onboard and play their part in respect to the financing of LIAT,” he said. “There is no country in the world which does not provide support to a national carrier. Air Bahamas, Cayman Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Air Jamaica in its time, there is a new airline in Jamaica, American Airline have gone to bankruptcy a million times, they will go again very soon, Air France, British Airways, all of these airlines from one time or the other have received some kind of support from their respective governments…”

According to him, although it is important for all the Caribbean governments to work together when it comes to LIAT, the airline itself must make some difficult decisions.

“It is important for all of us to work together, but there are some hard and difficult decisions which LIAT must take,” he stated. “We need all hands on deck to first of all identify the issues and secondly critically, importantly, to agree on the actions which must be taken to resolve those issues to the benefit of traveling public and very critically for the protection of our economies.”

He said Dominica invested in LIAT to protect investments made in the country.

“We invested in LIAT to protect the investments which our citizens and foreign investors have made in this country because if LIAT is not available to come to Dominica for one day, far more for a week, we can understand the devastation it would have on the economy of Dominica,” he stated.

The Prime Minister also argued that LIAT should be seen as a very important aspect of regional integration.

“You know we can all sit at our homes and offices and criticize LIAT, but LIAT has been providing an important service,” he stated.

He went on to say that LIAT must improve its customer relations.

“They have to treat customers with greater respect and appreciation because they are not doing the customer a favour, because the consumer pays for his service and therefore anyone who is offering a service and anyone who is buying a service, there must be this respect,” he said “So LIAT has to improve its corporate image it has to improve its customer relations image.”

The shareholder governments of LIAT are Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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45 Comments

  1. James Lynch
    April 19, 2015

    Here is a suggestion, Prime Minister Skerritt…

    At your next shareholders meeting, tell the other Prime Ministers that unless LIAT is un-politicised and is properly professionalised, Dominica will withdraw from the airline and will seek airlift from elsewhere within the Treaties and Agreements of CARICOM and the OECS.

    WinAir provides you with excellent frequent service, and other airlines are available to supplement that if WinAir cannot find a way to increase capacity.

    LIAT will not last much longer, take my word for it, and the louder Comrade Ralph shouts at his EC colleagues the more we know LIAT is being squeezed financially.

    Enough with the endless decades-old political BS, let’s get this stupidity over with.

    • Titiwi
      April 20, 2015

      Yes mr. Skerrit, sell our shares before they become worthless.

  2. James Lynch
    April 19, 2015

    We are going to lose LIAT in the NEAR future if these top-level circus clowns in the main ring cannot get their acts together. The only thing these new calls for involvement tell me is that the financial situiation is getting even more desperate.

    The others are 100% right to stand clear of the disaster and falling infrastructure. I hope the non-shareholder and the minority shareholder governments will heed my advice when I beg them NOT to put another cent into LIAT until it is properly “fixed”… the correct path is clear… get the politics OUT of LIAT, put the genuine professionals in, and LET THEM DO THEIR JOBS.

  3. James Lynch
    April 19, 2015

    Witness…
    – the three major shareholders are virtually bankrupt,
    – the Barbados PM has nothing to say, as usual,
    – the St. Vincent PM has everything to say but in reality says nothing, as usual,
    – the Antigua PM is rightfully apoplexic due to the new CEO’s treasonous scheme,
    – the Chairman has been caught lying in public, denying he knew about the CEO’s “trick”,
    – the new CEO has been there a year now and is still wandering the islands in search of his navel with his finger up his nose after being caught “trying a ting” with his usual “replacement airline” trick,
    – the same new CEO will neither confirm nor deny that the “replacement airline” trick was his.

  4. James Lynch
    April 19, 2015

    NOW is the time to dump or get off the pot. And doing so is very simple: move the shareholders AWAY FROM THE TABLE. REPLACE the Board, give the new Board a mandate to REPLACE executive management, and let those two entities get on with the task of rebuilding LIAT.

    -= * OR * =-

    Publicly set a date two years hence and SHUT LIAT DOWN.

  5. James Lynch
    April 19, 2015

    …the political fat of the land.

    With LIAT on the precipice of destruction, I think I speak for many others across the region when I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    Enough with the Board stuffed with political appointees.

    Enough with the amateur, unqualified and incompetent decisions emanating from that Board.

    Enough with “trying a ting”.

    Enough with the ridiculous choices made by that Board for executive management positions.

    Enough with the six-decades-old political money-sucking five-ring circus that is LIAT.

  6. James Lynch
    April 19, 2015

    I agree with you 100%, Prime Minister, the regional countries should get behind LIAT – but only AFTER the shareholder Prime Ministers get OUT of the management suite, the Board is replaced with competent aviation people, and top management are replaced with qualified and experienced people.

    I totally support Dr. Kenny Anthony, PM of St. Lucia, who bluntly told the Chairman PM of the shareholders to first _FIX_ LIAT, and then St. Lucia would consider sitting at their table.

    There is no average householder anywhere in the eastern Caribbean who has enough salary to start telling anyone they have “disposable income”… everyone is “scrunting” to stay alive, yet what you are asking is for those same hand-to-mouth people to give up some of their daily revenue for even more hundreds of millions of dollars to be poured down the bottomless LIAT money pit so that a limited number of privileged people can continue to be unqualified, inexperienced, incompetent, inefficient and live off…

  7. Stupes
    April 19, 2015

    To hell with LIAT they don’t have no respect for the customers ,who cares I sure don’t give a rats a… They need competition that’s what they need not NO money. STUPESSSS

  8. The Facts
    April 18, 2015

    The other islands as St. Lucia, T & T and Jamaica should also assist LIAT. Shame on them. After all LIAT services those countries.

  9. Malpardee
    April 18, 2015

    After liat leaving da people down how they want they asking for help. U buy yur ticket, when u get to airport they cancel on u, then u have to go buy another ticket.

    • Malpardee
      April 18, 2015

      Typo error: after liat people leaving da people down. Now they asking for help.

  10. SN
    April 18, 2015

    Only a fool does the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Some call it insanity. SKerritt has just identified himself with fools. LIAT is a failed enterprise and does not warrant getting any government support.

  11. Anthony P. Ismael
    April 18, 2015

    So, we should probably give LIAT another 8 million to spread around for the big boys at the top, like you did the last time. How did that work out for Dominica?

    Keep up the good work Mr. Prime Minister.

  12. home boy
    April 18, 2015

    how many years now liat been operating ? the market needs much more competition.

  13. Francisco Telemaque
    April 18, 2015

    “Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has called on Caribbean governments to come on board and contribute to the financing of cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT.”

    Roosevelt Skerrit: Elizabeth love-boy; sooner or later you will be left alone carrying the nonprofit operating dead LIAT on your head like a bunch of reject banana; (you know dem things we call fig in we country)! You and Dominica are the only ones who need LIAT to save your life.

    You need to be reminded that all of the English speaking islands in the Caribbean between Guyana in the South, to Jamaica in the North; all have an International Airport, except Montserrat. All you have is Douglas Charles, and LIAT. If you were not an halfway idiot, you would not listen to Ralph Gonzalez, and keep your country backwards!

    The joke is on you, it is not in the interest of regional governments to waste their taxpayers money on LIAT.

  14. sauce
    April 17, 2015

    This pm is just talking and talking a clueless person.
    Talk is cheap.
    This is a flying and talking PM.
    No wonder Dominica backward sooo.
    Who in de world listens to this PM?
    Only in Dominica can he bloff n foool people.

  15. The Joker
    April 17, 2015

    Build u an international airport so that Caribbean Airlines can come to dominca ! This can also bring investors such as The Caribbean Premier League.

  16. Lang Mama
    April 17, 2015

    Fools rush in where wise men have cut and run

  17. KoKo Naughts
    April 17, 2015

    Skerrit that’s where me and you will fall off!! Is not only de day before election I want to come Dominica, u know. LIAT is keeping way too many of us away from our country simply because of it’s poor service. We NEED better airline service to and from our island. Tweet: #LLD Let Liat Die.

  18. GrandBayrian
    April 17, 2015

    As a business Manager, I believe it is time the Governments of the Caribbean get out of the airline business. Governments should create an environment enabling business to strive, not to stifle it. What does the Prime Ministers of the Caribbean knows about Managing an airline? stop throwing good money at a bad business. How much have Dominica got in return on investment in liat? We need real competition in the airline industry especially in the Eastern Caribbean. We need to end this monopoly called liat.

  19. Me
    April 17, 2015

    Looks like the P.M. got bamboozled in coughing up millions of dollars to fill a hole that has no bottom. He may want to ask the company he invested our money in, who has an ultimate interest in the leases on the Dash-8’s that now stand idle. Roosevelt, if you think you are smart let me tell you there are some wily old foxes in the game.

  20. LIAT live itself
    April 17, 2015

    Skerritt hides behind his GIS, DBS, KAIRI FM media and spews all kinds of “talk”, stubbornly refusing to inform the Dominican people about critical issues as relates to corruption allegations, corruption, bad governance, secret deals, signing of US $300,000,000.00 in China for e.g. with private concerns/business, passport sales, giving of 15 acres of our Land, just like that. On top of the latter madness, Gov’t gives that same foreign businessman our passports to sell to raise $$$$ to build hotel..

    So no one, no media, journalists in Dominica could demand periodic press conferences or Press briefings, so the people could be better informed of what is going on? Those stage managed, no questions spewing of Skerritt is so detached, so delinked, so out-of sync. It’s frieghtening.

    • The Facts
      April 18, 2015

      The old broken record player, loudspeaker and the old microphone are at it again. When will these types of comments cease? They are stale news and do no good. I am wondering if they are not fabricated?
      Be careful! Ensure that what you write and state are the truth. People are liable to be sued for libel, smearing the good name and character of others.
      If you were in that situation or other situation for that matter, you would not be pleased about it.
      The Golden Rule – Never do to others what you would not like done to you. Otherwise, to dos, it is a grievous/mortal sin.
      You keep your heart, minds, mouth and fingers clean. Our patient God is taking note. Whatever people sew they shall reap two-fold in time.

      • The Facts
        April 21, 2015

        Whatever people “sow . . .”

  21. i glad
    April 17, 2015

    why are flights even more expensive and you still not making targetted profits? we need other airlines. the people who you leaders represent are not satisfied.

  22. Unknown
    April 17, 2015

    Mr.Skerrit it’s obvious that the Airline Industry is not your forte. Leave such decision making for the pros in that field. And who made you an economist to forecast that American Airline will soon going into bankruptcy again. I’m not saying it’s impossible but have you read of the American Airlines and US Aiways merger.

  23. Shameless
    April 17, 2015

    LIAT will only become a success if and when it is sold to a private investor who has the gall to make radical changes thus making the airline viable. LIAT as we know it will NEVER be a success as long as it remains a political football. What ever happened to night landing? Too much damn politics is killing LIAT and will continue to do so until the final nail is driven into the coffin,. Skerrit and others keep pumping money into a failed enterprise simply because of pride. I will keep watching..remember I said so!

    Assertive, NOT Aggressive! :twisted:

    • Francisco Telemaque
      April 18, 2015

      Prior to LIAT becoming the property of regional government it belong to private individuals, LIAT originated on the island of Montserrat, it was owned by local Montstratians, as the Kellsicks, and others.

      The sold out because the Airline became unprofitable to operate. When regional governments bought it, Dominica, had a share in LIAT: When Eugenia Charles discovered that LIAT was a waste of time, there was no profit, or dividends to benefit, she pulled the money Dominica had invested into LIAT.

      Skerrit was forced by Ralph Gonzalez to put more than ten million dollars into LIAT, money we will never ever recover. His cry right now is from fear that when Argyle International in St. Vincent becomes fully operational, there will be no need for LIAT, the airline will become Skerrit’s misery!

    • The Facts
      April 18, 2015

      If he did not, you probably would be the first one to complain and call him all sorts of derogatory names. Some of you can never be pleased and are never satisfied.

  24. Truth be Told
    April 17, 2015

    Hahahahahahahahahaha :-P Mr PM, LIAT as you rightfully observed is a life saver, a blood line, to Dominica! Now tell that to the other islands with their international airports and jet landing and take off that they need LIAT! And Mr PM, how many times do we need to identify the issues? Since I born we know the issues with this badly managed, politicised airline! How can you make a statement like this after investing in LIAT, “We need all hands on deck to first of all identify the issues and secondly critically, importantly, to agree on the actions which must be taken to resolve those issues to the benefit of traveling public and very critically for the protection of our economies.” Yo mean you did not do this and your due diligence before you made your investment? But man you sounding like a sor-sort!

  25. Mamizoo
    April 17, 2015

    Roosevelt Skerrit please stay away from issues that you obviously don’t understand. You obviously don’t have a clue about Bankruptcy protection and you don’t understand why Airlines like American Airlines file chapter 11. The ownership of American Airline iso far different from that of LIAT and US government has no ownership interest in the airline.Start showing some intelligence by reading and informing yourself so that when you do improvised presentation you appear worthy.

    • Malatete
      April 17, 2015

      You are correct. American Airlines last filed for bankruptcy in 2011 – it was not forced into liquidation but merely sought to buy time to restructure, cut costs and protect itself from creditors. This is common procedure in the U.S.A. I’m glad to report that it has since risen like a phoenix from the ashes. I’m afraid that LIAT needs drastic surgery also.

  26. Malatete
    April 17, 2015

    I really wish the P.M. would be factual in his reporting. American Airlines has not gone into bankruptcy a million times as he claims. In fact it is doing very well and as recent as 17 March CNN Money reported that it joined the S&P 500 list, its planes are full and its stock is selling at a premium. There are other, private airlines that are very successful such as Virgin, Ryanair and Easyjet. BA was privatised in 1987 by the U.K. government to make it profitable again and his not received any govt. assistance since then (that would be illegal anyway) and turned a profit of Pound sterling 281 million in 2013 with a load factor of 81.3%. I think the P.M. should try to emulate such success stories rather than look at excuses for propping up an ailing LIAT, that badly needs a corporate overhaul.

  27. James Lynch
    April 17, 2015

    PM, Skerrit, Sir…

    With all due respect, your suggestion merely seeks to continue the tax-and-spend policies of Prime Ministers of LIAT shareholders over the last four decades. It has not worked for the last 40 years, and it will not work now.

    As I have written several times in public fora, may I strongly suggest you rather use your seat on the LIAT Shareholders Table to insist on the shareholders STEP AWAY from the airline, REPLACE the current Board with qualified and experienced individuals, and mandate them to REPLACEcurrent executive management with qualified and experienced people who will CHANGE the way LIAT operates and at least break even.

    What the shareholders are still doing is merely repeating the incomprehensible actions of the past years and somehow expecting a different outcome. In the current situation of shareholder poverty it is my considered professional opinion that unless CHANGE is made at LIAT in the immediate future that it will fail in the near future.

    • Grayson Stedman
      April 19, 2015

      The LIAT problem is not management, but that the shareholders must allow management to operate LIAT efficiently. Here are a few facts. The CEO of LIAT has told the shareholders that you needs between 30 to 35 workers per aircraft. LIAT currently has a fleet of (8) eight aircrafts and using the high manpower of 35, would needs 280 workers. LIAT currently has a payroll of 800 workers of which 600 are from Antigua and operate from there. Based on LIAT 2011 audited accounts, wages made up 23 % age of revenue and currently its up to 27 %age. Put it this way, for every dollar you take in as sales, 27 cents is for wages. Of 800 workers, 200 operate in the other countries and the Barbados hub contributes greatly to LIAT sales. LIAT plans to increase it fleet to 10 aircrafts and will need 350 workers (10 x 35) and needs to retire 450 workers most of which operate out of Antigua. If the Antigua PM wants LIAT to keep the excess workers, then send a monthly check to meet the payroll.

  28. me
    April 17, 2015

    Speaking of customer relations…on leaving Dominica recently when I checked in I was told that my luggage was overweight by 6lbs…the young man told me he can put on the bag but I would have to give him “a little something”. I asked him if he meant something financial and he sais yes, but he would leave it up to my discretion and it would be between the two of us. Just wondering..is this something legal?

    • Malatete
      April 17, 2015

      If true, this is sad but I hope not reflective of the sate of affairs in Dominica today. The young man could have used his discretion for a 6 lb. overweight but in a precarious economy even discretion may be a salable commodity.

    • Astrid Labadie
      November 18, 2015

      Legal? Hell no!

  29. Amarossa
    April 17, 2015

    Protecting your investment are you, Mr. PM? (8 million)

    I think investing in LIAT is like pouring water down a leaky bucket.

    Until and unless LIAT can admit they need a complete make-over in terms of delivery of service, LIAT will keep losing money to the alternate airlines.

    • Ha
      April 17, 2015

      Alternate airlines? haha….which one? Caribbean star??? EC express??? Caribbean Sun??? American Eagle?? RedJet??…I can go on, but anyways one question… where are they now? Liat played a vital part in the region, take the Canefield airport for example. When Liat had regular services there, everything was BOOMING!! So many taxi drivers were benefiting from their services. From since they pulled out,everything went dead. what do you think would happen if LIAT pulls out of Dominica? do you really think one flight from Seaborne or WINAIR would support all those Taxi drivers up Melville Hall?

    • The Facts
      April 18, 2015

      If he did not assist LIAT, for the sake of D/can passengers of all, which airline would service Dominica? It would be then some of you would rant and rave against him. Whom would you blame?

    • Grayson Stedman
      April 19, 2015

      It should be noted that LIAT has four shareholders. Antigua and Barbados don’t need LIAT for their respective tourism business. On the other hand Dominica depends very heavily on LIAT for its tourism business. Most of LIAT traffic is handled from the Barbados hub which serves the Windward Islands, Trinidad and Guyana. The plan before the shareholders is to move LIAT headquarters to Barbados and keep the maintenance unit in Antigua. The impact is a large reduction in LIAT workers, and to have a ration of a maximum of 35 workers per aircraft. In 2011 LIAT made a loss of EC$43.6 million, and to assume that figure for 2014 will be much higher. Dominica has the most to loose if LIAT folds up and therefore should support Barbados and St Vincent to move LIAT operation to the Barbados hub which the analysis shows to be LIAT most profitable operation. While Antigua don’t need LIAT for it tourism, it need LIAT to employ its citizens.

      • Astrid Labadie
        November 18, 2015

        This makes a lot of sense.

  30. Oh No
    April 17, 2015

    I do not generally agree with the prime minister but this time around he makes both a socioeconomic and business point in relation to the survival of LIAT. But the shareholder governments but let the company know there are consequences and repercussions if things are not done right. And please eliminate excuses.

  31. CC
    April 17, 2015

    What happened to night landing Mr PM?

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