Leeward Islands Airlines Pilots Association slams St. Vincent’s prime minister over LIAT statement

The Leeward Islands Airlines Pilots Association (LIALPA) says it is disappointed and saddened by the unfortunate comments made by St. Vincent and Grenadines’ Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

Gonzalves said on the radio last week that he has a plan on how to save the cash-strapped LIAT but he was placing the issues facing the airlines on the back of its former workers.

In fact, Gonsalves said, they needed to be blamed in part, for the demise of the regional carrier.

But that statement is not sitting well with LIALPA, who are claiming that Gonsalves is simply playing cheap politics.

They claimed that he had been silent for virtually two years and in his first address, he found it most fitting to chastise the workers in their time of need.

LIALPA said it views the notion that workers are to be blamed for the failure of the airline as inaccurate, and a cheap shot.

“According to media reports, a decision was made by you and another shareholder Prime Ministers to liquidate the company in June 2020. The airline has always been tumultuous for reasons beyond the staff’s control. What should be of supreme importance to you Sir, and the other Shareholder Prime Ministers during these unprecedented times of financial fallout for workers, is to collectively solve the issue of owed entitlements to the terminated workers,” LIALPA said in a letter on Sunday.

According to the Association, every step of the way, the workers have remained loyal whilst making many sacrifices, through delayed salaries, being owed monies, no pay increases, and the disregarding of workers’ rights through the years.

“They have lent their unwavering support, aiding the airlift in moving people and supplies in and out of islands that were destroyed by hurricanes. They brought nurses from Cuba to various islands in the fight against the pandemic,” the letter further states.

LIALPA adds that despite these impediments, these issues did not hamper their drive to be one of the safest airlines in the region if not in the Western Hemisphere.

“LIAT had an envious safety record transporting yourself, other Prime Ministers, citizens, and tourists alike. Now, to be discarded as used and spent entities taking one for the political team, you have shown no empathy [for] the plight of the LIAT workers. We don’t need platitudes or trying harder or influencing, we need leadership from the four Shareholder Prime Ministers,” the pilots association stresses its letter.

LIALPA wants the Shareholder governments to emulate the “commendable responsible leadership of the St Lucian Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip J. Pierre, in honoring the debt of the St. Lucian workers.

Terminated workers have been on the breadline since April 2020 after the airline took a financial nosedive during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former workers are owed millions in severance and other payments, which they have been crying for since they were sent packing.

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  1. Toto
    July 1, 2022

    Ralph Gonsalves does not care. He has his own airline in St. Vincent, SVG Air that even has an executive jet. Skerrit can charter that and pay his pal to use it. You don’t have to like Ralph but he was always smarter than Roosevelt.

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  2. JAH KAL
    June 30, 2022

    Dominicans skerrit gave Liat eight million dollars and you all can not get a flight to Dominica what a waist of money . It will be running soon when skerrit call election so he can bring all his foreign voters in, look and you will see. The other islands don’t need Liat but skerrit need it to do his dirty deeds.

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    • Ibo France
      July 3, 2022

      Gaston told him to do it. Things in Gastonia (Antigua) are dire but Roosevelt still has this mental invalid as his mentor and idol.

      Anything Gaston requests from Roosevelt he acquiesces. Complete wastage of the people’s money on LIAT, but not a cent of a stimulus package for thousands of poverty-stricken citizens.

      For such acts of callousness and apathy , I’m convinced that Roosevelt prays to the Devil.

  3. Zandoli
    June 30, 2022

    I think LIAT pilots should seek employment at other airlines around the world instead of hoping to get something that might never materialize. Airlines all over the world are looking for pilots.
    If I had a transferable skill and I was being jerked around by my employer, I would not stand around hoping they will one day come around to doing what I believe is the right thing. I would pack my bags and seek better opportunities.

  4. Jonathan Y St Jean
    June 29, 2022

    Ralph Gonsalves is bad news for leadership in the subregion. This man believes that thuggish behavior is fine because he has the power to do the despicable things and say the unnecessary things he says. Imagine that workers are protesting against a decision by his government about the Covid-19 vaccine and this thug decides that the best thing for him to do is to walk through the protesting crowd. This demonstrates that he lacks humility and wisdom necessary for good leadership. Considering the sacrifices that the LIAT workers are still making he comes out disrespecting them without a scintilla of accountability for the owners of LIAT, the governments. As his behavior suggests he believes that might is right no matter and once in leadership one can do no wrong. He’s one of the new colonizers we have on our backs in the subregion. Gonsalves acts like the white colonizers because he’s got a little pale color and education so he must believe he’s white. Uncle Tom he is

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    • Ralph Gonsalves II
      July 1, 2022

      Waw what an analysis

  5. Truth Be Told
    June 29, 2022

    What is tryly going on with LIAT? Is it operational or is it dead? How many times can you all kill an airline and resusitate it before it is truly dead or risen to the heavens :?:

  6. Ibo France
    June 29, 2022

    All the prime ministers of the OECS countries with the exception of the new leader in Grenada have done nothing to elevate the standard of living for the majority of citizens in these countries.

    Look at them (leaders) then look at the living standard of the masses navigating these islands. All have enriched themselves owning the most luxurious houses, large acreage of lands, the most expensive vehicles, and colossal bank accounts. Before they got into politics, they were poor like a church mouse.

    Their only focus is creative self-enrichment. The plight of the working poor is of no significance to them.

    Hardships, poverty, dispossession, deprivation, hunger pains, flatulence and indebtedness.

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