Barbados opposition says injection of money into LIAT must stop

 A LIAT aircraft
A LIAT aircraft

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Nov 22 2016 – Barbados has pumped up to $150 million into the beleaguered regional air carrier LIAT, Finance Minister Chris Sinckler said Tuesday.

He explained this is how the Government of Barbados became the single largest shareholder with 49 percent equity as Barbados was given more shares in the airline which was unable to pay back the money.

Sinckler made the disclosure as he led off debate of a resolution seeking the House of Assembly’s approval for $33 million which the government has provided LIAT between the financial years 2012-2013 and 2015-2016.

The Finance Minister said Barbados has had to give LIAT money to either finance its day to day operations or pay for equipment.

“There’s still an outstanding amount of close to $100 million, potentially more, because I still have the staff investigating, trying to find out how many advances were made by the last administration to LIAT that would not have passed through the regular estimates of appropriations of the House of Assembly,” Sinckler said.

“Once that information is in, I give the House and the public the assurance that we will bring it to parliament, have it properly booked in the system so that the public records will reflect that it was laid.”

Meantime, opposition Member of Parliament Ronald Toppin accused the government of pumping money, which could have been used for roads or other critical issues here, into LIAT.

Toppin said LIAT has been subsidized for more than 40 years and it’s time for some serious decisions as Barbados needs to get some returns for its investment.

“LIAT still cannot stand on its own two feet. Oil prices, Mr. Chairman, have gone down and at the same time, despite that, lower oil prices which would lower anyone’s operating costs, LIAT still cannot stand on its own two feet. This is unsustainable,” Toppin said.

“LIAT has Sir, in my view, grossly under-performed as a regional carrier. The reality now is that the burden of the operation and the inefficiencies of LIAT have now fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of few governments including and perhaps especially Barbados and the unrelenting injecting of money into LIAT really cannot continue.”

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  1. A German tourist
    November 24, 2016

    Sure LIAT might not be earning money. But which Caribbean airline actually does that in large amounts? To me the whole thing with LIAT is pretty much the same as public transport in Europe. Public transport here normally just breaks even at best. But most of the times it’s subsidized. Because most European governments see public transport as a provision for the basic needs of their citizens.

    • If you are a German tourist, you certainly don’t know what you are talking about! How many Caribbean based Airline you know operating in the Caribbean, I challenge you to name them for the simple fact I want to see if you know what the hell you are talking about.

      I know that the national airline owned and operated by the Government of Trinidad & Tobago has been operating for many years, we never heard they operated in the red and no point and time of their history.

      For more than Sixty years LIAT been operating without making a single dime in profits, so why should it be in operation, LIAT limited to the Caribbean, with no International Flights, travel between the Caribbean islands are limited. If I live in Antigua, and wish to travel to Barbados, or Trinidad, and Guyana, why would I wish to book a flight on LIAT to do island hoping, when I can board a 747 aircraft and fly directly to Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago or Guyana or Venezula for that matter?

  2. Annon
    November 24, 2016

    Well, it’s serious. However these are just numbers from politicians, key word here ‘opposition’. Yet I hear the B’dos economy has benifited $143 mil, so we are still in the dark as to the net effect. Politicians I tell u.

  3. Mahaut man
    November 24, 2016

    Yeah tell that to my PM skiroo he put 8 million to liat, and Dominican can’t even get home, now we taking boat from next door islands to come home, shame shame on us, our PM can’t see and wasting dominica money, but listen the 8 million was to pay liat r for voters that came to vote .I it’s was not free ride.

  4. November 23, 2016

    LIAT is operating at a loss from day one how long are we going to put up with this I think that the governments should get together and decide to get a private company to take the crap of their hands its like an old car you keep spending money to fix it every day and you cannot go no ware with it where is LIAT
    money going why every holiday the pilots go on strike its time to get out of the business and let someone else see if they can do better I for sure promise I will not fly LIAT and haven’t done so for 10 years.

  5. November 23, 2016

    LIAT oh LIAT !!

  6. “He explained this is how the Government of Barbados became the single largest shareholder with 49 percent equity as Barbados was given more shares in the airline which was unable to pay back the money.”

    In that case recognizing that LIAT after operating for more than sixty years as a nonprofit entity, which is a nothing more than a money pit, there is no reason to keep putting money into something which seem to be design to operate at a lost!

    Hence, I suggest the alternative is to declare LIAT bankrupt, and go into Receivership, and since Barbados is the major share holder the proceeds from the sale of the residue of LIAT should all go to Barbados! In any event LIAT should long make it exit into oblivion!

    • Annon
      November 24, 2016

      You mean the h*ll with us as u out there in California sheltered from the ripple effect. Good for YOU!

  7. ArAb
    November 23, 2016

    The airline industry has been rather profitable and for donkey years now LIAT always need injections. I agree and i think it is time for LIAT to be self sustaining, go private or close down. There needs to be a plan to move forward and away from the current norm of injections. A plan should be formalized to be carried out over ‘say’ 3 years and at the end if no change close down in another 2 years. Let a private airline come that will give affordable, reliable and efficient service.

  8. Mike Portsmouth
    November 23, 2016

    As a west Indian I support

  9. Malatete
    November 23, 2016

    Just one observation. The photo in the headline show an old Dash-8, which are no longer operated by LIAT and have been replaced with new ATR aircraft.

  10. jonathan st jean
    November 23, 2016

    Skerritt it’s time to seriously start thinking about plan B.By now you should have had a contingency plan to make Dominica more accessible by air.You only gave $8 million and Bim has given over $100 million,yet this top heavy and poorly run airline can’t get it’s act together.Narrow down the hub’s and get another airline to service Dominica from these as a phasing out move until LIAT dies

    • viewsexpressed
      November 23, 2016

      I disagree, we should pursue with LIAT. We had another airline, Caribbean Airlines, and wrapped up. There must be a way to make LIAT profitable and serviceable. Too may business and financial and strategic professionals in the region to work this out. The Political leaders (especially inept Skero) do not have a clue, they just fly LIAT at their convenience

    • The bottom line is simply this: without an International Airport in Dominica, air access will become more difficult.

      I am not surprised you did not mention the word International Airport in your comment, it seems to me all of you Dominicans are contented with Skerrit Douglas-Charles swamp, at Melville Hall.

      You people need to realize that the world continue to develop, and nations rich or poor who wish to maintain the status quo, are left behind.

      Everyday under Skerrit, Dominica takes a step backwards. The country is tilting in one direction; the backward direction, while Skerrit focuses on the sale of Dominica passports,

      • November 24, 2016

        If the goal is improved accessibility for tourists, then we should consider which long haul flights come in to nearby islands (like the Norwegian Air flights from North America to Gwada and Martinique) and encourage regional airlines like Hummingbird and Winair to offer short connecting flights that enable travellers on those flights reach Dominica on the same day. It may not be as sexy as an international airport, but it’s a hell of a lot more realistic and it’s something we can do right now.

      • Steve would you really be interested in flying from England or New York on a Jet, land somewhere, to board a humming bird, or some similar bit of crap to fly else where?

        Steve, I do not care how long Skerrit or any Dominican procrastinate from confronting the fact without an International Airport in Dominica, access in and out of Dominica will forever remain a problem.

        They can create as many Humming Bird, and attach them to one another with rope, and let them fly together, that will not help the only alternative is to build an International Airport.

        When people are stupid and shortsighted the make their life and the life’s of others miserable, Dominica could have an International Airport operating for the past almost thirty years, had it not been for Skerrit, the Late Roosevelt Douglas, Athie Martin, and the rest of the Labor Party, who told people we doh want it!

        You might remember Edison James had one started, the peoples name mentioned shut it down!

  11. zandoli
    November 23, 2016

    The funny thing is, while Barbados is the largest shareholder, Antigua seem to be calling the shots.

    • Tjebe fort
      November 24, 2016

      That is hilarious, Barbados financing employment in Antigua. Gaston Browne should be grateful to Bim for being so generous but if I were a Bajan tax payer I would be furious.

  12. viewsexpressed
    November 23, 2016

    Why after 40 years, the only airline, LIAT, principally serving the Caribbean is always showing its in dire debt and some island has to pump money into it not for investment and advancement but for rescue!. What is going on?
    Can the OECS Bank, the CDB and others come together and offer us shareholders and users an answer and explanation and assessment. What is going on. The only island serving Dominican Republic to Guyana!!
    We are getting fed-up with this up and down turbulence and rocking and bumpy landing.
    I enjoy LIAT service and staff, please resolve this matter NOW.

    • zandoli
      November 23, 2016

      Show me one state owned airline that does not need to be subsidized? This is a money pit.
      In the airline industry, those that are not government owned just declare bankruptcy (read, burn their creditors and shareholders) and start over with a clean balance sheet.

      It is all one and the same. In LIAT’s case, the citizens of Barbados and the other island shareholders get burned.

  13. Zulu
    November 23, 2016

    Not from Barbados but I’m in full agreement with that statement

  14. papa
    November 23, 2016

    Way to go no more bailing out for liat very unreliable

  15. Dominican
    November 23, 2016

    Liquidate LIAT, acquire the assets at a knock-down price and start a new airline but this time without government interference. No state owned airline has ever been known to perform efficiently or profitably. It is a pipe dream to think that this would be possible.

  16. Scar face
    November 23, 2016

    I agree. They made me miss my connecting flight. And service at airport in dominica was very poor.

    • Medo
      November 23, 2016

      Sell Liat so that it can operate as a going concern without governments having interference. SELL SELL SELL Liat.

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