Dominica will support any entity that is formed to replace LIAT – PM Skerrit

Passengers boarding a LIAT aircraft

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says the government and people of Dominica stand ready to support any entity that is to take over the operations of LIAT.

The prime minister announced during his weekly Anou Palay programme on Sunday that LIAT would be liquidated following a series of financially unsuccessful months due to Covid-19.

He said the majority shareholders of LIAT – Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, St Vincent & the Grenadines and Dominica – met Saturday and his government received a report from the Board of Directors “drawing to our attention to certain issues confronting LIAT 1974 limited.”

He said the airline will be formed into a new entity that will provide connections between the Caribbean islands.

“I am convinced as a regionalist/integrationist that whatever new entity comes up that the people of Dominica must provide whatever support within their means, to ensure that we have interregional travel,” he said. “LIAT has shown its capacity, its abilities, obviously confronting challenges pre COVID and [which] certainly worsened in the COVID period.”

Skerrit said the next step will be a meeting of all the shareholders so concrete decisive action can be taken.

He said this is not a time to be daunted as LIAT has served with excellence in spite of their financial issues but these are extra-ordinary difficult times and there are certain actions that must be taken.

“I will say that we will all agree that LIAT 1974 Limited has served Dominica well,” he stated. “We have had challenges in the past with delayed flights or cancellation of flights, but we have to say that LIAT has been good to us not only in Dominica but the entire Caribbean.”

Meantime, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has said, through a CMC report, that the Antigua-based regional airline owes its staff an estimated EC$94 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) in severance and holiday payment, which it is unable to pay.

Gonsalves, who is the chair of the shareholder governments of the airline, gave an insight into the financial affairs of the company following a meeting of the shareholder governments last weekend.

He told radio listeners in St. Vincent that he had received a report from the board of directors and the management on the critical financial position of the airline. He said LIAT was having problems since 2017, but the hurricanes that year put the airline “in a tailspin” and into 2018.

Gonsalves said the management sent their salaries for May, June, July and overdue payroll liabilities but the company is insolvent and doesn’t have any assets “to pay anybody anything.”

Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank owns three of the aircraft that LIAT operates and has a priority charge on them.

“And then the rest of the planes are leased and in due course, they would have to send them back, unless, of course, a new entity which arises leases them from the lessors,” Gonsalves said.

LIAT has 10 aircraft in its fleet, split equally among 48-seater ATR 42-600 and 68-seater ATR 72-600.

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  1. Garvey
    July 2, 2020

    The problems we are experiencing in the region is corruption and incompetence.As a people we are to dam docile and backward, politicians run all kind of games on us and we refuse to stand against these incompetent thieves al over the world people are protesting for a better life while we just continue to accept BS from some criminal masquerading as leaders.the people need to rise and take there country back

  2. Bossman
    July 1, 2020

    Great news. One Caribbean airline will be flying Dominica route. Fares as low as 99 USD. Starting from 12th of July. I hope, Dominica gets an international airport very soon. There is no reason why Dominica should be the only country without an international airport in the OECS.

  3. RastarMarn
    July 1, 2020

    Garçon why allyou doh start uniting with allyou Bredren dem in the region,,,

    Why not form an alliance with Caribbean Airline, DemManDem seems to have a good thing going,,,

    That way people will stand a good chance of moving around the region in one accord and we can find a better connecting network to the major US ports,,,

  4. curious
    July 1, 2020

    The challenges faced by regional travel is very sensitive and the final collapse of LIAT – Leeward Islands Air Transport, is very obvious given the blow to air travel caused by the corona virus pandemic – COVID-19.

    The establishment of a new airline is therefore critical to replace the airline seats that would be made vacant by departure of LIAT.

    Such an airline should consist of both public and private sector shareholders as the private sector has a significant business investments throughout the region.

    A new regional air line name for consideration could be:

    1. Caribbean Air Transport Services (CATS)
    2. Regional Air Transportation Services (RATS) of the Caribbean.

    What ever the new name and entity, the service must be better, operations more efficient and the cost of travel more affordable.

  5. Smh
    June 30, 2020

    Hmmm, it is clear that we don’t have many other options at present but why is there a need to automatically support the other hypothetical entity? Is this how our leaders just blindly support an idea? What would be the point of supporting am entity that would basically be Liat wrapped in a different wrapper? Stop trying to sell things to Dominicans wholesale! You don’t know what the new entity is or when it will be up and running but you already supporting. Look Antigua already telling us that the hypothetical airline’s headquarters has to automatically be located there. This is already a recipe for disaster. Barbados receives many more international flight daily compared to Antigua. Why shouldn’t the base be in Barbados then? It would certainly make connecting from an international flight a lot easier. These leaders are clearly not business savvy. Antigua’s premature proposal is already foolish at best. If we are going into this it should be with profitability in mind.

  6. RENT 2 own
    June 30, 2020

    If some of the players in the fall of LIAT are involved in the formation of the replacement of LIAT, then that’s very scary because it could be their personal business that will lead to conflict of interest.
    If some of the players involved in the formation of the new LIAT or replacement of LIAT were involved with the CLICO saga and even flew on the jet of Leroy Paris, the former head of CLICO who is now arrested and charged in Barbados, then this news is very troubling and dangerous.
    If some of the politicians involved in the LIAT saga and the formation of the new LIAT are involved in an alleged $32k dollars a month for rent of a local Morne Daniel mansion that Al Jazeera report told us is owned by a top ranking local politician, then that article is very, very scary and dangerous because, that would mean that some corrupt politicians are so corrupt that they could help kill LIAT so they could have secret shares in the NEW LIAT. I refer to that as RENT 2 Own or Kill 2 Own

  7. Alibaba & The Forty Thieves
    June 30, 2020

    This article reminds me of two very pertinent situations and as such, it’s very scary.
    Firstly, it reminds me of the CLICO saga that is a hot potato in the news today. Are there any politicians that are involved in that LIAT saga and the new entity to replace LiAT, that were involved and in bed with CLICO? If the answer is yes, then that’s very scary especially with the arrest and charge of Leroy Paris, the former head of CLICO.

    Secondly, this article reminds me of an alleged $32K dollars a month, that is alleged to be paid for rent for a local politician. It is a fact that there is a house at Morne Bruce to serve as the house of our PM’s. Somehow our PM who is also minister of finance left that house before Maria because he said it was leaking. But he never repaired it. Then some company built a mansion and the Al Jazera report told us who was building his mansion at More Daniel. So if that same person is part of the LIAT saga I am very afraid for the future of LIAT.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
    • Toto
      July 1, 2020

      Find out who is benefitting from the lease of Liat aircraft and you will have your answer I suspect , that was a license to print money.

  8. Graysonj Stedman
    June 30, 2020

    Continuing, (7) LIAT staff are highly paid and the employees have a powerful Union, (8) Antigua has indicated that they would like the new airline to be headquartered there, business as usual, (9) the other shareholders should walk away and cut there losses and form a separate airline, (10) LIAT liabilities exceed its assets and owes its employees about $100.0 million, and if they are to be paid, the shareholders will have to provide the cash. I don’t know the law, but if the government provide cast to pay staff, can creditors enter their claim, (11) of the four shareholders Dominica will be hardest hit because its the only shareholders without an international airport, which we need like yesterday, (12) our tourist sector will be hard hit and will take longer to recover from covid 19. (13) our PM will have to spent a few months of sleepless nights to address the air access to Dominica.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  9. Graysonj Stedman
    June 30, 2020

    The problems with LIAT is not new and well known by the shareholders, The problems are as follows, (I) for the past three years LIAT has been exercising decline in passenger travel yet did not adjust its operations, (2) there has been several studies to reorganize LIAT including a rent study done by CDB and the bank has been disappointed that the shareholders has not implemented the report, ( 3) Over 60% of LIAT traffic is done through the Barbados hub, yet over 60% of the staff are employed in Antigua, (4) LIAT has 10 planes, 5 ATR 72 and 5 ATR 42 and a study has shown that between 300 and 350 employees are required for LIAT total operations, (5) LIAT is over staffed with 700 employees which are mainly Antiguans, and their PM has made clear to the other shareholders that staff reduction is not for discussion, (6) its more cost efficient for LIAT to be Headquarters in Barbados, again that not for discussion, (7) the procurement of maintenance part is very inefficient and costly.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  10. Laughingstock
    June 30, 2020

    Oh, ok. Now I have a better understanding what De-lie-lar / De-liar CANNOT open the airport! So LIAT is no more and, the other airline that serves Dominica multiple times a day is WINAIR and since they are a French entity they too cannot fly to Dominica because of French law, so who will De-liar open the airport for? But the man is such a good liar and deceiver that he gives the impression that is because he is sooooo concerned about covid-19 not coming on our shores he not opening it yet. But De-lie-lar you forgot we were the last airport to close when covid-19 was making havoc all over man? You forgot when we were crying for you to close it and you wouldn’t? Gason it would be so damn shameful and embarrassing for airport to be opened and people are ready to come home but they can’t come because no LIAT and no WINAIR/ Air Antilles. So. Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, St Vincent and Barbados can all open because they have options. No wonder he say he will accept anything they give him

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  11. June 30, 2020

    Rename it WIAT – Winward Islands Air Transportation. That is after Skerrit purchases the airline.

  12. Dominican Bwoi
    June 30, 2020

    Off topic but DNO/administrator, could you please remove that big arrow that appears on the page (on the mobile website), it really isn’t necessary. I’m constantly going back to the top of the page because I keep accidentally clicking that arrow. On a lot of phones, all you have to do is click the top of the screen & it’ll take you back to the top…or you could just scroll up. The arrow on this website isn’t even helpful, it’s just pointless, annoying & unnecessarily in the way.

    Also, please move or change how you reply to comments. Again, I’m constantly accidentally clicking on the “Reply to this comment” button. I know many others have done the same thing too. How about making it smaller by changing it to just “Reply” & moving the position?

    As a right handed person who scrolls my phone with my right hand, I keep accidentally clicking the reply button & arrow because they’re also on the same side

    Other than that, I love the website :-D

    ADMIN: Thank you for your feedback. We have implemented your suggested changes. Let us know if it helps to improve your viewing experience.

  13. Truth be Told
    June 30, 2020

    Do you hear laughter Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!
    Ha! :lol:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      July 1, 2020

      Truth Be Told, that little deep head half of a bald-head, he has no alternative than to support anything he gets, because if he was not a soft head easy to manipulate like a puppet, he would not have talking Gonzales bad advise.
      One corrupted crook advised another crook not to build an International Airport in Dominica, because our island does not need one; nevertheless Ralph went home and built the people of St. Vincent Argyle International.
      Be informed:  “The Argyle International Airport is the largest capital project in the history of the country, with ts estimated cost of construction of US$259 million or 700 million East Caribbean dollars price tag representing nearly one half of St. Vincent and the Grenadines gross domestic product.
      “The $1.2 billion missing from Dominica’s treasury could have built an Intentional Airport, and change left over.
      Rather than our people kick Roosevelt out of government for his corrupted incompetence, and failures they give him free hand to…

  14. Is What they say
    June 30, 2020

    Anou Palay sort is really a good name for the program because so far all I have been hearing from that program is pawol sort. I mean to hear the PM say says the government and people of “Dominica stand ready to support any entity that is to take over the operations of Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT)” is really pawol sort. First, as pm he needs to tell us if LIAT is really done and should not have us to depend on what Gaston Brown says. Secondly, it sounds so childish and damn right stupid for a prime member to saw we will support any entity put it place. Does he as our pm don’t have a voice to say he is in support of A,BC? So pm if those smarter PM’S like Gaston, Motley, Gonzales say they going to replace LIAT with air Antigua, air Barbados or air St. Vincent as long as they make flights available to Dominica, it’s ok with you Mr. PM? That’s what you call poor, blind, visiionless leadership. What they say goes? You don’t even have a say? No wonder they want you in office .

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  15. weh
    June 30, 2020

    The PM will have to take any airline he can get to come to DA now, Beggars cant be choosers.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3
    • We finish boy
      June 30, 2020

      You remember when we use to have those small spray planes flying around to spray our banana fields? Over the years Skerrit has so badly wrecked Dominica and it’s image that if they could resurrect those spray planes and convert into passenger planes, just to transport passengers to and from Dominica, Skerrit would be very happy. I mean hear the tone of PM Skerrit telling Dominicans in the 21st century that he and his government stand ready to support any entity that is to take over the operations of LIAT? PM you mean you will accept anything Ralph Gonzales, Gaston Browne, and Mia Motley give you? Well I understand because beggars are no choosers and since you have bus as the begging nation, why not accept anything thing? So is they replace LIAT with some six seaters you are bound to accept bit because you have no choice! Boy see what Skerrit did to our country. I remember when we had daily direct flights to and from Dom to SJU on AA, LIAT and today we can’t even Guadeloupe.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
    • LifeandDeath
      July 1, 2020

      The real losers are Dominicans having such a visionless prime ministerfor so long.. Just now they should stop boats from coming in too.. RUSS and Mia maybe knocking glass now.. They got out on time.. All the other island have direct flights to mainland USA..
      Dominicans blight themselves. Now they’ll be forced to pay 32,000 a month for the king to stay in his palace..

  16. Susan Carter
    June 30, 2020

    I am coming next year again and would love this to be resolved swiftly I have had s few issues with liat and never really liked going through Antigua but was the only way to get to much loved Dominica

    • June 30, 2020

      Yea but any other country that has it you are still guaranted to go through a country to get to dominica

  17. P R Bellot
    June 30, 2020

    Hopefully, any successor airline will NOT be based in Antigua and will NOT have the name LIAT in any form. Neither harbours good memories of its service…


    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8
    • Neg Bod LaMer
      June 30, 2020

      Totally agree!
      Move the Airline from ANU or have them install cameras in all the cargo/luggage handling areas!
      Change the name from LIAT!
      De-unionize most of the employees and subcontract the remainder!

  18. Pipo
    June 30, 2020

    Don’t be in such a hurry like this Mr. Skerrit. We are not the majority shareholder in Liat, Barbados is but their shares are worthless now as are ours. I would advocate caution before putting more money into another Liat without total revamp and that should not automatically include a rebirth in Antigua with so much people looking after 10 little planes only. And I do not agree with you that they have served us well. Their tardiness and lousy service is legendary Sir but of course, if you do not use them like the general public and fly private instead, you would not know that, would you. Please, do not pour more of our money in that bottomless pit without consultation with seasoned aviation experts. Caution, caution, caution!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3
    • Is What they say
      June 30, 2020

      Anou Palay sort is really a good name for the program because so far all I have been hearing from that program is pawol sort. I mean to hear the PM say says the government and people of “Dominica stand ready to support any entity that is to take over the operations of Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT)” is really pawol sort. First, as pm he needs to tell us if LIAT is really done and should not have us to depend on what Gaston Brown says. Secondly, it sounds so childish and damn right stupid for a prime member to saw we will support any entity put it place. Does he as our pm don’t have a voice to say he is in support of A,BC? So pm if those smarter PM’S like Gaston, Motley, Gonzales say they going to replace LIAT with air Antigua, air Barbados or air St. Vincent as long as they make flights available to Dominica, it’s ok with you Mr. PM? That’s what you call poor, blind, visiionless leadership. What they say goes? You don’t even have a say? No wonder they want you in office .

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
    • June 30, 2020

      Pipo, this is a great comment, well commanded with respect; you have said it well.

      If only the rest of us, who contend, would do so as you did here, great things would happen for us, in Dominica; in that our authorities would attend to our grievances with better respect. Way to go, my friend.

  19. Nkrumah Kwame
    June 30, 2020

    Honourable Skerrit, please talk for yourself because you probably never flew on LIAT. Your only criticism of the airline is that of “delayed flights or cancellation of flights”. I suffered much much more than that from your beloved LIAT!!
    For example, receiving my”lost baggage” ONE YEAR later while I was in Jamaica and without compensation so PLEASE Sir, talk for yourself!!!
    Now listen to the other one: 94 million EC dollars that can’t be paid to employees nor salaries for May, June and July. But CDB have access to the three planes.
    What are the affected employees supposed to do eh?? Tell me. Come grovelling at you all’s table and beg??
    In who’s interest do you operate??
    After all the losses suffered by ordinary folks who invested in CLICO, PM Skerrit has yet to lift a finger.
    Cruel, heartless bandits and distinguished delinquents!!
    But this too, shall pass. Time is always longer than twine.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3
    • Survival over everythingelse
      June 30, 2020

      The Honourable Skerrit has flown on the carrier many times. In any airline there is always the chance of losing baggage. LIAT is not the only entity to deal with these issues. It is sad to know that LIAT has been to the rescue of many countries during difficult times and when it has its’ own difficult times, there are always naysayers. How many times did LIAT come to the rescue of Dominicans after the destruction of Hurricane Maria? How many other carriers were so dedicated to the movement of persons to ensure their safety? This is the livelihood of many persons who would have dedicated many years to serving the Caribbean. No company is perfect but there will always be those employees who have given their all and receive nothing in the end. The shareholders should have an obligation to ensure the continuity in an entity that gas served all. If the survival of the airline means to move Headquarters, all selfish notions should be removed.

      • Toto
        July 1, 2020

        You almost sounding like apologist Parry Bellot. How can you make excuses for Liat. Yesterday I hear Gaston Browne almost blackmailing us and the other shareholders. I say go and fly a kite Gaston and don’t pretend you have that airline for our benefit. We will find a way to travel, with or without your airline.f

  20. cp
    June 30, 2020

    Of course the PM will support any entity that is formed to replace LIAT because he has no choice. Large aircraft’s cannot land in DA, so he has to take whichever inter island airlines that are available.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1
    • Maybe
      June 30, 2020

      So pm just buy liat let Dominica own it and stop bailing them out

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2
  21. Ibo France
    June 30, 2020

    As Dominica has no international airport, the demise of LIAT will be particularly devastating to the island’s already depressed economy and connections with the outside world.

    People, why is it that in this age of modernity, Dominica is the only independent country in the OECS, without this ‘indispensable’ asset, an international airport?

    Misguided leadership, fierce partisan politics, ubiquitous corruption, ultra selfishness and insatiable greed have us languishing in abject poverty and backwardness.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 4
    • Just Thinking
      June 30, 2020

      The reason is called load factor.Nil for Dominica.

    • Jonathan Y St Jean
      June 30, 2020

      Let’s face the fact that Dominica has little choice but to invest money in the proposed LIAT 2.0, as we remain with few other options because our connection to the international community is very limited. However to see our solution as a one-shot game is short-sighted on the part of Skerritt. The government boasts of having established relations with a record number of countries in the world, over a hundred, so what benefit is there in it for us? Why doesn’t Skerritt use these relations to our advantage and seek to get assistance to set up a locally owned air service to our neighbors Martinique and Guadeloupe? This will give Dominica easy access to the International community. Baba Butler set up an airline so why can’t the government of Dominica. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste, so let’s be bold and creative and look for alternative solutions besides only relying on LIAT. What are friends for?

  22. country1st
    June 30, 2020

    Dominica has no choice but to support any entity that replaces Liat. What a predicament in 2020. Smh.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

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