PM defends LIAT investment

liatPrime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has defended his administration’s decision to invest in regional airline LIAT, insisting that the move was in the best interest of Dominica.

In Parliament on Thursday $3-million was allocated to the Ministry of Finance, which will go towards the government’s investment in the cash-strapped airline.

In explaining the government’s decision to invest, the prime minister said he sees LIAT as an important contributor to improving air access to the island. “This administration has taken the decision to become a shareholder in the regional airline because we see LIAT as an important contributor towards the efforts at improving and enhancing air access to Dominica,” he pointed out.

He said the investment is in the best interest of the people of Dominica. “We strongly believe that this investment is in the best interest of the people of this country,” he argued. “This contribution will facilitate the acquisition of new air craft and is expected to create new opportunities for more visitors to come to our island as well as to facilitate the movement of citizens to Dominica.”

Late last year Skerrit announced that Dominica had finalized its investment status with LIAT and for the first time Dominica attended a shareholders meeting in Barbados.

The move, the prime minister said last year, would allow the island to “assist the continued presence of LIAT flying into Dominica and indeed throughout the region.”

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43 Comments

  1. marion
    August 22, 2013

    you hear lie.who you think you fooling? present the stock certificate to the people of da. there are sharp dominicans overseas who are astute business administrators.

  2. March 5, 2013

    “Listening to House Of Assemble” How long are we Marigot people going to criticize the present Government for upgrading the Melville Hall Airport? It is also a waste of time to even criticize the Government for investing in LIAT also pure waste of time. It’s Time that we start capitalizing on the progress regardless of how big or small we think the progress is. I can Emergency the amount of non Marigotians who are thinking “If only I was from Marogot this is how I would capitalize on the Airport, Fisheries Agriculture and even now the New Infrastructure in the New Roads. People are criticizing the Government for providing housing for people, that’s crazy.

  3. March 3, 2013

    Dominicans are too selfish, Travel with less bags , learn economics and travel because if you paying soo many taxes on land think about air travel. You loose and not LIAT. Stop begging our LIAT people to send free boxes of provision to all you families to Antigua, I can’t believe that none of you that the Airline helped even say something positive. From tomorrow, no favours.

  4. Yes Man
    March 2, 2013

    You all realize that Liat is the only airline serving us THROUGHOUT the Caribbean now? The reason we DOMINICANS are able to travel on Liat today is because other Caribbean islands are using their hard earned money to keep Liat in the air. Oh how we like to complain! Because of other Caribbean brothers and Sisters we Dominicans benefit from Liat. Why not extend a helping hand too? You all see the benefit now?

  5. Jay
    March 2, 2013

    LATEST NEWS, “VIRGIN”
    Virgin Atlantic is to start domestic services in the U.K. on 31 March from London Heathrow to Manchester and subsequently to Edinburgh and Aberdeen under the name “Little Red”, in competition with British Airways. They will use jets such as the Airbus A320, offering:
    – pre-assigned seats
    – complimentary snacks & drinks
    – 23 kg. check-in luggage
    The fare from London to Manchester, a distance about twice that from Dominica to Antigua will be pounds sterling 99.05 return (approx. E.C.400)
    Eat your heart out LIAT!!

    What the hell is wrong with us in the Caribbean????

    • March 3, 2013

      you realise that their are less taxes involved to travel within europe, How much APD taxes does people have to pay to travel from Europe to the caribbean? You just like the fish with all its eyes on one side.

    • Anonymous
      March 5, 2013

      It’s called economies of scale. Or numbers. Traffic. or volume. 5 passengers versus 5000. Quite elementary. As long as we squander money we do not have on useless projects like a state palace instead of investing in destination marketing and any other industry that will bring foreign revenue into the country LEGALLY, airfares will not only remain high but climb.

  6. hallie berrie
    March 1, 2013

    u give liat 3 million and u cannot play your CIVIL SERVANTS. Magwasay!

  7. Anonymous
    March 1, 2013

    One of the rare times I can support the PM.

    The fact that he has to explain this investment from a defensive stance is his fault though and that of previous admiistrations who never invested in educating the population not in math and science but in life. 30 years neglecting investment in developing common sense, logical analysis, cause and effect, has now lead to a debate over investing in the only airline that has been and continues to service DA inspite of DA being a welfare route. As ignorant and retarded as any debate can ever get.

  8. Jahyout
    March 1, 2013

    Only in DA those this things can happen, Jah help us all..

  9. Rastar-Marn
    March 1, 2013

    Alright Pardnerman Skerro you say you doing d investing in the best interest of Dominica, so who gave you delegation of authority to take public funds and go invest in a private enterprise???

    So you justify investing 3 million in this private entity that has been failing for the past how many years, and you let this foreign company come take one of the major infrastructure sectors of your Country,,,

    Garçon Marn didn’t go to allyou Higher education and study all kinna statistics and mambo-jombo to get all dem doctorates allyou have dere, but dat dozen make no sense to me nuh,,,

    How you can justify letting Domlec go, but investing in an Antiguan Company,,,

    but wait nuh so what is d return on investment again???

    If Skerro doh answer could one of his talking heads dat doz come on here answer dis for Marn-n-dem???

    • budman
      March 1, 2013

      let me correct your many inaccuracies. we will start with the last first: Liat is not an Antiguan company, it is a company owned by Barbados, SVG Dominica and Antigua & Barbuda GOVERNMENTS. therefore it cannot be a private company if its owned entirely by the Government sector. Secondly, you ask who gave him the authority to take public funds to invest in LIAT? uuh… he’s the PM. He has a Cabinet that is charged with the responsibility to manage the country’s affairs. his authority comes with the office that you elected him to hold. If you don’t like it, you vote him out. A head of state doesn’t have to ask questions about policy. He/she comes to us if there is a question of constitutional amendment.

      • Malatete
        March 1, 2013

        LIAT (1974) Ltd. is incorporated in Antigua & Barbuda and therefore is an Antiguan company, subject to the laws of that country, regardless of its shareholding structure.
        It was partially privatized in Nov. 1995 and 90% of the shares are currently held by the Govts. of Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Barbados. The remaining 10% are owned by other regional Govts. and minority shareholders.
        You are right, it is the P.M.’s p

      • Rastar-Marn
        March 2, 2013

        Garçon when Marn come here to state claim Marn doz do his due diligence yeh but some times Marn does miss some tings so Marn doh fraid to say when he wrong,,,

        According to wiki : The airline is owned by seven Caribbean governments, with three being the major shareholders (73.4%); private shareholders (10%); and employees (5.3%). It has 673 employees (at March 2007). The government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which also is the sole shareholder of another regional carrier, Caribbean Airlines, the national airline of Trinidad and Tobago, was also offered the option to be another shareholder in LIAT, but the government of Prime Minister Patrick Manning rejected the offer.

        So now how we gonna see the profits come back to the little people???

        Tax cuts??? or VAT cut???

        So Skerro may have some inside info Marn Doh have, but Marn tink he still have to let people know wi, what’s going on,,,

    • Rocque
      March 2, 2013

      Selling our passport was/is an investment for our country, and Mr PM where is that money going, since I am not seeing any betterment happening in Dominica

      All I am seeing is politicians and their families, associates getting richer and richer

      wondering how many of our politicians are share holders in that LIAT investment?,

      while he is defending the LIAT investment our hospital is lacking many of the vital equipment needed for saving lives, our roads and drains need major reconstruction, school buildings need renovations, government building need repair/renovation, toilets in schools and government buildings need upgrading, and the list can go on

      Dominicans visiting having their luggage left behind in Antigua for weeks upon arriving to whatever country of destination. Calling LIAT head office in Antigua enquiring about your luggage is a pain in the behind, being treated with hostility and disrespectfully by LIAT staff members in Antigua, when one is paying more to LIAT to travel to Dominica than any other Caribbean country

      I visited Dominica on several occasion and the fee from Antigua to Dominica, double what I am paying from the country of departure, Dominican it is time to wake up and smell the coffee with that skerrit regime

      • March 3, 2013

        You lie, you dont wait for weeks without your luggage. LIAT has improved on its luggage service. The problem with you Dominican people is that you want to carry your whole house and land on the people plane and want to get them the same day. you too ungratefull.
        LIAT bend over and get ====== for you all and u still kick liat in its***.

  10. SiangUK
    March 1, 2013

    Regards investment sum (US$3million) is (EC$8million).

    A little history.

    Between 1996 – 1998 Dominica a jet service (CaribExpress).

    The Dominica government at that time choose not to invest to keep that Jet Service and the CaribExpress went the way of many other before and since.

    • Malatete
      March 1, 2013

      CaribExpress was an offshoot of Court Line Aviation, a U.K. based charter airline (specialized in package tours), which went bankrupt in 1974, owing more than pounds sterling 7 million to customers that had bookings with them, apart from any other creditors. This happened before independence and I doubt the govt. of the day would have had an opportunity to invest in this venture.

  11. tro
    March 1, 2013

    I find for an airline that had the monopoly for so long should never be in a position at this stage. Instead of improving they are going down. By now Liat should have 737’s and more and doing international flights for the length of time they have been in existence. All the hike in the prices where is it going? who is it benefiting while the service remains so poor. The only thing i can really boast about liat is its safety record in terms of crashes. Other than that they really need to buck up..

    • budman
      March 1, 2013

      I hear you but Liat was never intended to be an international carrier. It’s mission really was to be a “bus service” for the sub-region.

      • Anonymous
        March 1, 2013

        It’s a very poor bus service. As someone who has been taking at least 3 yearly round trips on liat for the past 6 years the service is going from bad to worse. In spite of the increasing prices. That’s the type of rubbish the public has to deal with when a certain market is monopolized and there is no competition.

  12. We are not fools
    February 28, 2013

    I do not have a problem with the government investing in Liat since they have officially made us the laughingstock of the caribbean. My problem with what Mr. skerrit is saying is, since prior to becoming the minister of Finance and PM he had no experience in business or finance, it is clear that he does not understanding the concept of investment, and as a result, is costing us significantly. You see, if you are going to invest in any business you need to have a projection in mind as to what you expect to gain from your investment. If according to Mr. Skerrit,this investment will facilitate the acqusition of new aircraft and create more opportunities for visitors to get into and out of Dominica, then he definitely missed out on an opportunity to proove his point this week. Folks, this week it officially became public that Ameican Eagles will be no more and Dominica in particular will be most affected since we do not have an international airport like other caribbean islands. The fact that we now own shares in Liat and just yesterday we understood that they have purchased new aircrafts and maybe bigger, then why couldn’t the PM convince Liat to pick up the SJU/Dominica route from AE and start to facilitate the 35% visitors that AE trasnsported to Dominica? After all, Liat pilots know the caribbean better than all, they have a bigger aircraft than the 34 seater Seabourne that will be replacing AE, and they are guaranteed a full flight almost everyday. In as much as I don’t like the direction of the PM, I can assure you if he had succeeded in convincing Liat to pick up that route most of us would understand his investment. The PM must get real with us and tell us that he is just trying to pay back Liat for the overboasted nightlanding which up to this day is nothing more than some more millions going down the drain uselessly.

  13. natural dominican
    February 28, 2013

    i have no problem with the investment but i would really like to know what benefits does dominica receive from such an investment. do we receive a reduction in airfare, what?

  14. %
    February 28, 2013

    Mr Skerrit do you have an interest in the villas at Savanne Paille? I know you are not moo moo Sir. Can you please answer to the question without telling me ‘Go to Hell! Go to Hell! Go to Hell!

  15. JoJo
    February 28, 2013

    But wait now! Didn’t the P.M. originally say it would be 8 million? This morning in parliament he said is 3 million. Who got the other 5 million or am I stupid?

    • Anonymous
      March 1, 2013

      Yes you are. This is another 3 million allocated

      • JoJo
        March 1, 2013

        You mean he invested $ 11 million so far? I never hear or see that anywhere.

  16. Morihei Ueshiba
    February 28, 2013

    While Dominicans suffering some fellas from vielle case and St.Joe getting rich on the backs of poor people. :mrgreen:

  17. Anthony Ismael
    February 28, 2013

    I understand the Prime Minister’s philosphy behind the investment in LIAT, but the outcome to us Dominicans who travel is totally differnt. If we’re making an investment in LIAT, the Dominican traveling public must be served well.
    Why can’t they offer direct flights from San Juan Puerto to Dominica?
    If American Airlines accounted for 30% of travelers from North America to Dominica, my logic tells me that this is a significant percentage to warrant such a business decision. However, Seaborne Airline was the only airline that will be providing direct flights out of San Juan to Dominica, while LIAt contintues to “Island-Hop” its way to Dominica. Don’t even get me started on the luggage fiasco. Is this what we Dominicans deserve in the 21st century? Who is fighting for our interest?
    I read these articles and I often wonder are the talking points valid? Certainly not for me.

    • grell
      February 28, 2013

      your right just as i said before why antigua i dont see the sense in stopping their,and they steal our stuff.

    • aviator
      February 28, 2013

      I understand your point.
      In my opinion, the PM had no other option than to invest in LIAT. Liat is by far the major player in Dominica’s air access. They are in a difficult financial situation, and Dominica ask them for more flights . If you want to weigh on LIAT’s decision, you have to become a shareholder as many other countries are already. The financial aspect is another story, but I think there was no other choice. The pressure from the other governments having invested in LIAT and having lost so much money was probably strong.

      As far as San Juan flights are concerned, I do not think LIAT could succeed in a direct flight SJU to DOM . American Eagle was hardly breaking even although they were in code share with American Airlines . LIAT cannot be in Code share with them, Seabourne will be . They should be able to break even and hopefully remain on the trade. They have the right aircraft for the flight and their operating costs are by far lower than LIAT’s.

      Aviation is VERY complicated and not always as evident as it can appear.

      Not loosing LIAT was the major goal. Achieved.

      • Rastar-Marn
        March 1, 2013

        you making joke Pardner???

        What you mean he had no other choice,,, do a little due diligence and see where the company that LIAT going to have the leasing contract for them new planes is located,,,

        It’s a rather small, small world after all, there are countless investors with Monies to invest in this market especially with the way things are becoming more regional,,,

        I remember sitting at SLU listening to this kid and his mom talk about how the officials from LIAT was teaming up with SLASPA giving him a hard time to park his planes at SLU because he was gonna bring better service to the Carib-bean folks,,,

        The officials at LIAT have manipulated the Air transportation sector in this region for too-damn long and for Skerrit to further fuel the fire by taking Monies and dumping into this Money pit shows that he is more part of the problem than the solution(s),,,

        I only pray that these Trinidadians with Caribbean Airlines would really take the bull by the horn and start servicing the little islands and put these Crooks out of business,,,

        Skerrit had other options so don’t come talking dat crap!!!

      • Anthony P. Ismael
        March 2, 2013

        So if the type of Aircraft being used on the route is one of the major issues, why not purchase the SAAB 300 aircraft or another type of aircraft with similar seat-capacity? I thought surveys and cost benefit analysis were major players in such business decisions. Air Access into and out of Dominica did not improve with this investment by the Prime Minister. This was status-co as you can get. And that’s exactly why my homeland is in the current state of affairs that it is. We keep making the same decisions, and expecting vastly different results.

      • Anthony P. Ismael
        March 2, 2013

        One of the privileges of being a consumer is obtaining the best possible goods and services for monies spent. Investors expect return on investments. In the case of the Dominican traveling public, the lay-over in Antigua, lost luggage and poor service stinks. Not having an international airport is a poor excuse for the crap that we have to deal with from LIAT. This is a case of the “Battered-Wife Syndrome.” After being abused for so long by LIAT, we are expected to continue acccepting poor service, lost luggage and useless stay-over in Antigua as a right of passage, when we travel. I for one will not be traveling via Antigua to Dominica. When I spend my hard eraned dollars, I expect proper service.

  18. Mwen
    February 28, 2013

    “Every day the bucket a go a well, one day the bottom a go drop out”
    R. N. Marley

  19. Wander
    February 28, 2013

    Bad idea Mr PM

  20. Anonymous
    February 28, 2013

    Yes I bondieu look over us. People going home, vendors crying and more money for LIAT. Prayers are forever

  21. Krazy
    February 28, 2013

    wait he didn’t say more jobs for the citizens of Dominica or neither more money in their pockets.. i need money to survive in Dominica PM

    • Truth Seeker
      February 28, 2013

      Go find a job! Cha!

      • Krazy
        March 1, 2013

        if jobs are not created how u expect to get a job u dumb… u didn’t read the article

  22. grell
    February 28, 2013

    mr.pm i have no problem with the investment,but dominicans traveling from the usvi need to stop going to antigua.when we get their they rip us our hard earn items.please try to avoid that stop,we are not interested in antigua.

    • CHARMER
      February 28, 2013

      I agree with you there, but not enough Dominicans to
      full the aircraft to enable a straight flight.

    • Cloud
      March 1, 2013

      It’s not so easy grell. You have to understand flight networking in order to realize that airlines have to plan routes strategically. They’re not going to fill an airplane from the usvi direct to Dominica everyday. Anguilla is not going to fill an airplane to Dominica and Antigua is not going to do it either. In order to have mostly all seats filled, they must use power in numbers. As all flights from Anguilla etc, meet in Antigua, then they hop on one plane to get to Dominica, the plane is full. So on one flight you got Dominicans, Anguillians, Lucians, etc.
      To fill a flight from usvi to Dom direct, you will have to fly maybe two to three times a week direct to Dominica. Now if you do that, people’s schedules become less convenient. It’s just the way it is. But I agree with you, I hate that stop in Antigua

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