At least two regional leaders have openly blasted the poor service of regional airline LIAT and made calls to have the matter rectified with urgency.
Chairman of the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchel and St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris expressed their disgust with the service of the airline at the 62nd OECS Authority meeting now taking place in Dominica.
Harris said had to charter a plane to get to Dominica for the meeting and Mitchel described getting to the island as doing a “serious mathematical formula.”
“We have to get either LIAT right or transportation arrangements right,” Harris said.
He explained he was delayed in parliament in his country on Tuesday (yesterday) and it was impossible to get to Dominica from St. Kitts after 2:00 pm using LIAT.
“To get here, I had to charter a plane to take our delegation to Dominica,” he stated. “Something better must be demanded of LIAT … and some do believe that unless you are a shareholder, you shouldn’t talk about it.”
He said he was speaking not as a shareholder but as a “simple customer of LIAT demanding better quality service.”
Chairman of the OECS, Dr. Keith Mitchel, was a bit more philosophical on the matter saying the region cannot talk about freedom of movement and serious integration, “if we cannot get from one country to the next.”
“I seriously get headache when they tell me I have to come to Dominica from Grenada,” he remarked.
He described coming to the island as doing a “serious mathematical formula.”
“You have to do all sorts of things to take your mind away from all the troubles and the headaches to get to Dominica,” he stated. “When I can take a plane at 9 o’clock in Grenada and land in Miami at 12 o’clock, no headache. Colleagues we cannot do that to our generations.”
Mitchel stated that issues that face the region must be solved.
“Whatever the issues are we must solve it, we have to solve it. If you have to reduce the taxes, so be it, because in the end we will get more,” he stated. “If more people travel we will get less tax on one, but the multiplicity of activity would in fact increase!”
He added, “There are some issues that must be done and discussed and come to terms with, with less emotions and less feelings of individual countries interest. The Union and the impact on the region, we should be thinking more in that direction. Too many times we make decisions at our regional heads meetings and we go back into our jurisdiction and we let the political wall determine what is best for the entire family.”
He said if the region continues to operate that way it will not satisfy the needs of the people.
“Sometimes we forget that all generations will judge us as leaders when they look at the period of time that we served and they saw the issues that we allow to pass by. They are going to condemn us instead of giving us praises that are necessary. I say this in the context of LIAT and transportation,” Mitchel said.
Dominica is a shareholder of LIAT.