Open letter of congratulations to LIAT board, management & staff

Gregor Nassief

Dear Board, Management & Staff of LIAT:

I want to say congratulations, but before I do, let me briefly explain how I travelled with you from those turbulent times of “heads must roll” to the present, and how I look forward to traveling with you through clearer skies to a brighter future not just for LIAT but for the entire region.

Present

As the ATR 72 aircraft lifted off the Antigua runway I glanced at my watch: 6 am on the dot.  And at 6:29 am we arrived to Dominica, 11 minutes ahead of schedule.   I shook my head and smiled:  LIAT was on time again.

But the staff does not seem surprised, as if they had every confidence they could turn things around.  This became evident over the past two years because each and every time I checked in at the LIAT counter at Douglas Charles Airport in Dominica, I would ask “Is the flight on time?” and their response: “But Mr. Nassief, LIAT is ALWAYS on time….”   It began as a joke with laughter rippling down to the end of the check-in line.  But I have stopped laughing now – I just smile in amazement at the fact that LIAT really is always on time.

At least for me.  The last 26 flights that I have taken since the passage of Hurricane Maria (generally between DOM, BGI, ANU and SLU) I do not recall a single one being late.

Past

It was almost 5 years ago – the summer of 2013 – that I penned 4 letters over the course of four months to the board and shareholders of LIAT demanding that “heads must roll”.  I documented over 39 incidents of flights with delays ranging from 1 hour to 3 days.  My first letter was to the Board of Directors.  Nothing happened.  Then to the Chairman of the Board.  Nothing happened.  Then to the shareholder Prime Ministers.  The day that I sent that one out, something miraculous occurred: LIAT’s CEO resigned.  One head rolled, but nothing changed – service and on-time performance continued to be a disaster.  So I wrote my fourth letter to Ralph Gonsalves urging him to step aside as Chairman of LIAT’s Shareholders Committee.  Of course that did not happen. What next?  Who is higher than Ralph?  I began to pen my 5th letter to…….. guess who?  God!  Asking for Divine Intervention (I’m not kidding, I actually started to write it).

Future

Great service and on-time performance is one battle. Affordability is another one to be waged internally (cost reduction) and externally with Heads of Government to reduce air related taxes and fees. It is at times cheaper to fly from Barbados to Miami than from Barbados to Dominica.  An article in Caribbean Journal noted, “A review of regional fares indicated that on average taxes and fees are approximately 80% of the base airfare charges, thus comprising over 40% of total ticket cost.”  The third battle is convenience and connections. Having to go through more than one security checkpoint when traveling in transit from one island to another is absurd, again something that Heads of Government must resolve.  Also, LIAT needs to seamlessly connect to inbound and outbound international flights to truly facilitate intra and extra regional travel through more and better interline and codeshare agreements. Making significant strides in all of these areas will transform LIAT’s performance and bottom line, but more than that, will significantly boost travel and thus GDP throughout the region.

In Closing

As Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  Congratulations are in order for the Board, management and staff of LIAT.

I actually do look forward to my next flight with you!

A special mention of LIAT’s recently appointed CEO Mrs. Julie Reifer-Jones, whose steadying hand held the airline as 2nd in command for many years between several tumultuous CEO rotations.  The opportunity is now hers to continue the airline’s transformation and positively impact Caribbean economies. The fact that she is also LIAT’s first Woman CEO is refreshing.

 

Sincerely Yours,

Gregor Nassief

Dominica Hotelier

 

p.s. As one of many who almost lost life and limb during Hurricane Maria, I wish to echo the recent words of Prime Minister Skerrit: “I wish to thank LIAT, the Caribbean Airline, for their unflinching commitment to our welfare and well-being in the aftermath of the hurricane.  As soon as it was possible and practical, LIAT was bringing relief supplies and transporting ill and vulnerable citizens out of the country…. And I must stress, for free….. “  Thank you!

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42 Comments

  1. “So Francisco
    Where does Gregor live? I thought he was getting cursed out because he was doing well. That is why I was trying to give my little piece of advice. “(Barbara Saunders). 

    Barbara there is no doubt with his inheritance, his head start to which the average Dominican were not privileged he has to be living in Luxury, and that simply means living in a condition of abundance with ease and comfort, it means  residing in a sumptuous environment, and indulgence in something that provides pleasure and satisfying to him.

    Whereas he can cool out at his Fort Young in his best suit, some people in Dominica cannot afford nothing larger than a 16 X 12  that is 192 square feet of space, a shack without indoor kitchen, or a toilet, and without a shower space. There is no way someone living in something like that could be counted living in Luxury. You know each time I read your name I remember my sister Barbara who died in her sleep two years ago or so.

  2. Admin you allow people like the idiot Joe, whose intelligence derive from a smart phone to abuse peoples people on your site, nevertheless when I respond to what he say about me, you censor my comments. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

    In the of Man Eat Dog, whom I know is a clown, he insults me, nevertheless when I levy insults at him, I am censored. Sin is sin, there is no big sin and small sin!

    It is bias for you to all some to talk rubbish about people they do not know, but disallow the victim from responding, why favor some people nonsense, but refuse one defense to be read!

    That is unfair biasness  on your part; if you are going to censor my comments censor the crap the person said about me, by not publishing it in the first place. This idiot calls me fake: From Los Angeles to Canada hundreds of Dominicans see and know me: Who know that guy?

    • Presto
      April 6, 2018

      This is not a chat-room, although it’s interactive you are diminishing the credibility of this blog.

  3. Gigs
    April 5, 2018

    Nothing good to say about liat. You cost me alot of money.
    Your staf are not qualified.always on strike carnt fly or some kind of problem .to hell with you.

  4. Gigs
    April 5, 2018

    Nothing good to say about liat. You cost me alot of money.
    Your staf

  5. GeorgeO
    April 5, 2018

    Lucky for you to be able to afford to fly 26 times. For ordinary Dominicans the fare is extortionate.

  6. UDOHREADYET
    April 5, 2018

    This improvement seems like a concerted effort of many affected and concerned people including local artists, prime ministers, concerned citizens, employees and businessmen!

  7. Barbara Saunders
    April 4, 2018

    Randy X
    Nothing with me and Skerrit. I think he has character flaws like everyone else and I think he has made many mistakes like everyone else. I am just another Dominican with a different perspective. I cannot allow the hatred of one man to drive me to destroy my country by any means possible just to get him.

    Ever heard of cutting off your nose? Whose face gets the spite?

  8. “What those of us without a similar head start can do is think right, take the risks, be prepared to work hard”(Saunders Barbara). 

    Yours, is the advise most parents give to their children, and even some politicians give to the unsuspecting and the very poor, even here in the United States; giving false hope to the poor. Nevertheless, unlike the United States where the opportunity lies somewhere to present itself, there are no opportunities in Dominica.

    Hard as one works in agriculture, or for a business owner, that individual works for a life time and die never owning enough money to live a life of luxury okay! So, they emphasized education, but no matter the magnitude of the education, the source of employment is the civil service, or they all want to be in politics, to be government minister.

    No one thinks of industrializing the country, we have no scientific ambitions, so this hard work thing is nothing more than a myth! People do not get rich by working for others!

    • Continue:

      The day that boy Gregor was born, the gold spoon was in his mouth! His forefathers came to Dominica probably penniless, the same as the Astaphans, and others with nothing else than a bolt of cloth, selling to our people. They walked from Roseau to the Northern districts where people had just a little bit more than the south.

      they introduce credit, when they sold someone two yards of cloth, the debtor took sometimes more than a year to pay for that bit of material. The milked the poor; they to this day can go into a bank as they did long ago and get loans without any secured collateral, they money from the bank because their name was Nassif, and Astaphans Shillingford, Gabriel they were the elites, and bourgeoisie of Dominica.

      Black people until the Banana industry came could not go int a bank to deposit money, the odds are still against black poor Dominicans; the last time my late father went  to get a loan he was 55, based on his age he was declined!

    • Barbara Saunders
      April 4, 2018

      Hi Francisco
      I don’t think I suggested anyone work for others. Is that the only type of work you know?
      I know building contractors, plumbers, joiners, IT specialists and more who make more money than the highest paid government employees.

      If they play their cards right they can make it big even here and I don’t suggest anyone living a life of luxury. I wonder if even Gregor Nassief does. You don’t have to live in luxury to live well.

      If that is the aim then no wonder some of us live our entire lives hating and envying those who appear to us to be living well rather than taking hold of opportunities.

      • Barbara, Dominica is a place where everything is limited for a building contractor to become rich, wealthy building houses the population must be is a cycle of building indefinitely. We do not have that type of continuous building going on.

        You know there are people who attempted to build houses, they get started, and the houses never get completed, all due to a lack of financial resources (money). Make no mistake about it I understand your theory completely, nevertheless the obstacles exists.

        Most Dominicans live for half their life, never held a steady job; so no amount of hard work will help unless from that hard work plenty of money flows. People makes money by investing in things that pay dividends, Dominica is not a place where that can happen, the population is too small, so then the alternative is to get into manufacturing, and finding an export market for selling the products manufactured in Dominica.

        If successful a certain amount of people may find permanent…

      • Barbara Saunders
        April 4, 2018

        So Francisco
        Where does Gregor live? I thought he was getting cursed out because he was doing well. That is why I was trying to give my little piece of advice.

  9. Erickson Fabien
    April 3, 2018

    I value the service that LIAT provides, but I still struggle to understand why a return ticket from New York to Antigua is cheaper than one from Antigua to Dominica.

    • Zandoli
      April 3, 2018

      Taxes and fees imposed by stupid governments who believe the more they charge the mone money they earn. Except they are killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

      • Chester
        April 7, 2018

        My sentiments exactly. I shudder daily to think of how much more money the government could generate by simply lowering custom duties instead of looking at the small picture of instant cash collection.

  10. Shameful
    April 3, 2018

    That Gregor man just like to hear himself talk. These people just so egotistic.

  11. Ba Yo Bwa!
    April 3, 2018

    While I am not calling out – not do I expect – Mr. Nassief to bear me out on this, I think his congratulatory remarks is well-written, balanced, timely and consistent with his tendency to shed light on LIAT’s performance good or bad. Seems to me Mr. Nassief is not here speaking of anybody else’s experience, past or present with the said airline, as opposed to taking the time as a consumer and critique of LIAT to commend it for delivering timely service “[t]he last 26 flights that [he] ha[s] taken since the passage of Hurricane Maria” to or from his destination. How that becomes an intention for Mr. Nassief to speak for those who obviously have had a different experience with the airlines beats me. To all his critics, hold on to your druthers.

  12. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    April 3, 2018

    Gregor, you and your cronies are partly to blame for our current situation on the island. Remember that you were and still is one of the chief opponents of a jet airport on the island.
    Every nation, business sector embarks upon long term, short term and medium term strategic planning to evaluate; strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth. It is impossible to identify or decipher just what is transpiring in Dominica’s tourism sector. Your ongoing grievances amount to nothing more than opiates, while ignoring the root cause.
    As I look around the region, I see talented Dominicans leading delegations in places like Antigua and securing funding for multi-million dollar capital projects for those islands, while you and the Labor Cabal remain in the dark ages. Keep on wiring your letters to LIAT and like the boy who cried “Wolf,” one day your prayers might be answered.

  13. Dominican
    April 3, 2018

    But Gregor, how can that flight not be on time? It is the first flight of the day out of Antigua to Dominica. It is far more worrying, time consuming and expensive for me that one has to overnight in Antigua to catch that flight, especially since we have night landing facilities at Melville Hall which do not appear to feature on Liat’s scheduled flights. In particular I find the connections to- & from Barbados irksome.

  14. Gregor, you are one of those people in Dominica who like to write long letters and get them published on DNO and any media in which you can get them. You seem to believe you are impressing people that you are a master writer. If that’s what you are trying to prove, challenge yourself to write a book fiction, or true life and prove to yourself if you can do it.

    But I do not find anything relevant in this one of your long and trivial commentary!

    You as someone in the so called hotel business should be demanding that Dominica Dictator build an International Airport in the country. If you believe one is not necessary, I advise you to ask the Black American girl (woman) who won the trip sponsored by your Fort Young Hotel, how long it took her to fly from Los Angeles  to Dominica?

    I  hope she won that trip prior to Maria; I hope you treat her as you would have treated a White person! 

    • BobE!!
      April 3, 2018

      You need some serious help. I feel sorry for you…..

      • Suggesting the education or re-education of Nassief&BobE!!
        April 3, 2018

        For who BobE!! ? Nassief ,FET or yourself??? hahahhahahah.Iam saying a pray 4 U.

    • Joe
      April 3, 2018

      Not a big fan of Gregor neither do I find his letter as amusing as you do but one of positive encouragement to LIAT. Francisco you think of The glass as being half-empty whenever you write your blurts. While you hide in California Gregor is in DA creating jobs and I am optimistic all this traveling is impetus for creating yet another job for someone else to do on his behalf. For an elderly man as you have admitted, retired from ‘The Army’ 20 years ago after a 35 year stint, even if you had joined even at 18 years old that brings you at a ripe old age of 70 + headed towards 80 years old. That’s an age where most ppl are very sensible given the credentials you boast. Your blurts cause many of us to question the VA’s mental health dept. Seriously.

      • You keep rattling off about age, this is the second time you are going there with me; my question to you is how old are your parents?

        Do not let my age be your concern, because as old as I am I do not envy your youth, and if you think your youth could cause you to survive in America where I am hiding, come and try it! You seem to envy me, I am academically educated, and damn rich, I don’t need anything from you or Dominica, I do not have to return there  to be like you living in misery, getting kicked around wondering where my next meal is coming from.

        I will say this again every single dime I will ever need to take care of myself is already secured, the only way I can ever be broke in my is if the total economy of the United States, collapses. In your youth can you say in confidence as I have said?

        At seven doctors said I would not live; I am happy to go to a hundred! 

      • Joe
        April 5, 2018

        Ahh retirement. …Dud your idiocy is very loud, and you carry it like an enblem of honor. Common make the elderly proud. There’s nothing great about just being an annoying fly on DNO”s wall for an òld man. Dude u so Fake.

    • stick
      April 3, 2018

      stuppes. mr. know it ALLLLLLLL! just ask God to resign from being God and take over. D………mmmmm

    • You are a mad person who need the prayer!

      Pray for yourself, because you are a fool; ask God to give you some simple commonsense, you are an idiot; I do not even understand the garbage you wrote, what is the purpose, what are you trying to convey!

      I am not a peasant, I’ve never been; hence the language of peasants I do not understand as my intellectual brain is unable to process garbage!

      • Ahfuahwi
        April 4, 2018

        You seem to have a serious chip on your shoulder and a lot of idle time. Stay in America and hide and run your mouth behind a computer screen. You are such a winner Francisco!!

  15. no choice
    April 3, 2018

    LIAT has no choice to try to be on time , they now have competition, especially the Dominica ROUTE. before they knew that Dominica was their BREAD AND BUTTER , as we had no options. Now INTERCARRIBEAN IS HERE ,WITH PROVEN RESULTS. so guess what, They know that soon they will be second place as this new airline will be the best competition they have had in a long while .

  16. Shameless
    April 3, 2018

    Not to sing Gregor praises (because he only sings when it benefits him), I too will take this opportunity to congratulate Liat because my 5 flights with them last month where all on schedule (SLU, BGI, ANU, SJU, POS) . Finally, Finally the Caribbean’s airline seems to be making headway albeit small but noticeable.

    Assertive but NEVER aggressive! :twisted:

    • Neville
      April 4, 2018

      You are right, you only hear these guys if it is of benefit to them. You won’t hear them criticise Skerrit because they have an understanding with him: we keep quiet and you give us what we ask for. In essence they are ‘true Dominicans’, they are just playing in a different league. The motto is the same, anything for financial gain but they have no other values.

  17. RandyX
    April 3, 2018

    I we shall see if they can keep this level of performance up.

  18. jihan
    April 3, 2018

    I will never ever fly liat again went through a horrible 3 days back in 2014 and made that promise to never fly this horrible airline again.

    • April 3, 2018

      I think they area little better now , i stop to for a long time but after Marie i had to and it was great on time and before schedule time

  19. Martin
    April 3, 2018

    l totally agree with Mr Nassief, l have flown more than 12 Liat flights in the last 4 weeks all have been on time, the staff are super friendly and dealing with the help center is a breeze for changing flights over the telephone. Compared to other airlines they are a breath of freshair, great job Liat keep up the good work.

    • Neville
      April 4, 2018

      Wow, 12 flights in the last 4 weeks. Is your name Roosevelt Skerrit by any chance?

  20. peterson
    April 3, 2018

    Mr. Nassif
    Not because Skerrit affords you the opportunity to reap financial havoc on the meager earnings of others making it possible to afford LIAT flights that you shuld forget that there are others who would like to take a decent vacation but just cannot meet the cost of LIAT skyrocketing ticket prices.
    you rethink your gestures with Skerrit and come again.

    • Ba Yo Bwa!
      April 3, 2018

      But wait! Did you not read where the man is calling on the airline – and respective governments/countries that LIAT serves – to cut relevant and identified taxes in order to make it more affordable for ordinary citizens to fly? Gosh, man! Learn to read and be discerning.

      • Barbara Saunders
        April 3, 2018

        No do not expect him to see that. Gregor Nassief’s name is a red flag before a raging bull and Dragging Skerrit’s name in is even more fodder for murderous anger.

        I really wonder how these people sleep at night. Guys get it. Gregor had a head start from family assets so unless he is totally hopeless he will naturally do better than a few of us. No amount of hatred and jealousy will change that.

        What those of us without a similar head start can do is think right, take the risks, be prepared to work hard instead of spending precious hours cursing Skerrit and everyone else who does not express hatred for him and Dominica.

        You might surprise yourself.

      • RandyX
        April 4, 2018

        Saunders, what is it with you and Skerrit? You are advancing to his chief apologist. All I will say to you today is: the real crime is turning a blind eye. You and others of your ilk would do very well not to forget that.

      • Barbara Saunders
        April 4, 2018

        Randy X

        A blind eye to what? In fact I think I am seeing too much that is why my focus is not on Skerrit. People like you have gone overboard to tell me everything that is wrong with him, so I know the devil that I’ve got.

        I in fact have to focus on and analyse the angel who wants to come so that I do not end up with a worse devil than I’ve got. That makes sense but that is what people like you don’t want to do. It is more comfortable to flog a dead horse of unproven allegations.

        I wonder who is truning the blind eye?

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