Skerrit: Caribbean airline ‘absolutely important’, investment a neccesity

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said Dominica is still prepared to invest in any airline that will serve the Caribbean. He was speaking as a special guest on the DBS Talking Point Program on Thursday. His comments came following a recent statement by LIAT.

LIAT (1974) Limited, a regional airline owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, will permanently cease all commercial flying operations from January 24, 2024.  This decision has been taken by the court-appointed administrator, Cleveland Seaforth, after careful consideration and evaluation of the present operations.

“I told Dominicans that if LIAT doesn’t fly for one day we are in trouble in the Caribbean. And I always held the view that for you to have any sustained airline business in the Caribbean among these islands to be serviced properly governments must be involved,” Skerrit said.

According to him, governments must seek to underwrite a certain portion of the expenses associated with running these airlines. He further said that this is why Dominica invested in LIAT despite the public criticism.

“And Dominica is still prepared to invest in any airline that will serve the Caribbean, because we believe that it is absolutely important,” Skerrit stated.

He continued, “And my view is, let us come together as governments, ok we need $20 million US dollars to start the airline, let us have a strategic plan for this airline. Let us put in good management, an Executive Chairman, good board members, and let the government stay out of the running of the airline and let the board and the management implement the strategic plan.”

Furthermore, Prime Minister Skerrit pointed out that he does not believe in governments running anything.

“This is why we do not own things in the private sector as a government,” he stated. “Anything we invest in, that is supposed to be in the private sector is because there is a gap and I don’t believe in the government running anything. Government should not be running anything, so we should leave it to private sector people to run these airlines.”

Meanwhile, Skerrit revealed that discussions are being held with some islands within the OECS line to find ways to work together toward introducing operations that will alleviate the situation within the Caribbean.

He said that the Caribbean cannot grow to the extent that it wants to grow without addressing interregional travel.

LIAT (1974) Limited has been under administration since July 24, 2020, and had been servicing several regional destinations before it entered administration. Since then, it has scaled down its operations and is now only serving Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, San Juan Puerto Rico, St Kitts, St Lucia, and St Maarten.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, during his country’s national budget presentation last month, said that his government had embraced the responsibility to restructure and resurrect LIAT, “with a vision of returning the airline to the regional skies”.

Browne also mentioned that LIAT has long been an essential thread in the fabric of Caribbean connectivity.

Browne shared that in 2023, LIAT 1974 Limited, which resumed flying operations on November 1, 2020, operated a limited schedule, despite several hurdles, including unserviceable aircraft, unresolved issues for former workers, financial constraints, staff attrition, and disruptions caused by the hurricane season.

The airline ensured vital connectivity across destinations with 167 dedicated staff.


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  1. If we knew better
    January 15, 2024

    We have money man? To put in airline? Meanwhile Hospital cannot do surgery? What about the Windsor Park? We missed a huge tourism opportunity with the cricket patches. We have plenty roads to fix also and overhanging cliff. There is work to be done here but is in LIAT u want to put more millions?

    Now you talking about owning things. Them times government just buying things. Buying people land and assets. Some for private party use. Who owns the house of dark secrets?

  2. dissident
    January 15, 2024

    Aren’t you satisfied that you have created a nation of fools yet Skerrit
    Talking about promises met and kept by you and your dlp……will we get that promised airline before electoral reform?
    Which one is higher up your achievement list Dr Dr Overambitious?

  3. Copacetic
    January 14, 2024

    Ibo is very much on point!!! Air carriers are rightly subject to governmental oversight to ensure the public good while throttling corporate inpropriety.

    Regional fliers were “forced” to patronize and endure LIAT’s mediocre services for decades in the absence of sustainable and viable competition.

    Hopefully, a reliable airline corporation will rise up to fill a disconcerting air travel provider void.

  4. Empty Hospitals
    January 14, 2024

    How about investing in medicines and necessary implements for the health facilities in D’ca?

  5. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    January 14, 2024

    What that Mr. Crab-lous wants to say is any humming-bird that will serve Dominica and not the Caribbean in General.
    Fact is since every Caribbean nation are served by international flights except Dominica, they are not in desperate need for such commuter aircraft’s!
    By the way not too long ago they brought their Bajan accomplices to Dominica pretending to lengthen airport because they say big airlines say if they lengthen Melville Hall they will come; but now they get the kickback money, Bajan gone big airlines forgot to come!
    They also said they don’t want to be like St. Vincent, where big airlines were yearning go while they were building Argyle.
    I don’t know when will Dominicans will stop allowing Roosevelt from lying to them, and stop making idiots of a whole nation!
    Roosevelt and the people in his cabal are the only ones who can speak and understand the language of big airplanes, and invisible operating aircraft’s and airlines.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  6. Anthony P. Ismael
    January 13, 2024

    Improving our tourism product would mitigate the need to subsidize airlines flying into and out of Dominica. Airlines need to fill 80% of their seats on any route, to remain profitable on their chosen routes. A ticket costing U$1,000.00 is cost prohibitive for the average traveler, given income of scale from their country of origin. We understand that 20 bridges need to be constructed along the road leading from Portsmouth to Marigot. LIAT switched from flying their Twin Otter Aircrafts to the De Havilland Dash 8 back in the early 90s. This made Canefield partially obsolete and put Marigot in play like never before. No efforts were made to improve this road and widen blind corners. With the construction of the new airport, we have seen an increase in heavy duty vehicles on narrow roads with blind corners in the North of the island. It’s only miracles, why we have not yet experienced more road facilities.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  7. Anthony P. Ismael
    January 13, 2024

    The art of political deflection only works sometimes. The Prime Minister is 100% responsible for the public tongue lashing that he received, when he made the decision to provide LIAT with $EC 8,000,000.00 from our national treasury. All and Sundry knew that this was a failing venture and a waste of our precious resources. Using scare tactics to explain away a putrid decision is even more wanting than I could have imagined from “King Roosevelt and company.” Presently, the following airlines provide service to Dominica: Caribbean Airlines, American Airlines, Sea Borne Airline, Win Air and Air Antilles, not to mention the ferry service. That’s 6 modes of both air and sea access if you’re counting at home. Trying to use scare tactics to justify your decision is a “Mele” that you and you alone created. Maybe if you were more honest with the public, there would be less criticism. As you so eloquently said recently, “How you make your bed, is how you will sleep in it.”

  8. A fool head
    January 13, 2024

    The obvious signs of dementia is rapidly getting to the head. I don’t think before talking, I forgot the lie I told an hour ago, I’m not sure if I’m going or coming. But the majority thinks that I’m not coming but going. But where will I go, uh???

  9. Petes
    January 13, 2024

    The minute this man opens his trap it’s either pure nonsense coming out or lies. Sometimes even both. That happens when there is no press to scrutinise or challenge these people.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  10. out of south city
    January 12, 2024

    Didn’t he say, “I run things in Dominica?”
    He contradicts himself as if he doesn’t remember some things that he mentions.
    Wow, wow, wowb? Dominica has been brought down to her knees by this rogue government. Someone made an important point while we were conversing and said that “the government should use the money that was used to build houses to invest in businesses on the island.” In that case, there would be employment and some people would not depend on the government for hand-outs.
    When money was not flowing as much as it is now, in the early days, some people depended on the crops to provide for their families and to support their children who attended high school. There were several factors and there was not so much poverty and wants.
    Bring back agriculture, which will provide for the people’s needs. Someone told me once, “land does not rot.” In a place like Dominica, where the land is so fertile. we should be the bread basket of the Caribbean.

  11. January 12, 2024

    every single person will benefit in a clean voters system..but u all wornt give the lectoral labour commission to do d.a’s work…thou wickid soul…my brother my brother, i run tings in dominica..your dam a

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  12. Ibo France
    January 12, 2024

    Once bitten, twice shy. How many OECS member governments would want to invest in LIAT 2020 after the mammoth financial losses with LIAT 1974?

    Roosevelt will never invest one cent of his personal finances in a failed business enterprise. He feels empowered to use the country’s revenue without restraint without doing a thorough research.

    These present OECS governments are colossal failures, especially Antigua and Dominica. Their economies are in shambles. The infrastructure is badly ailing on its dying bed. The healthcare system is in an extremely unhealthy state. The national debt is alarmingly high and ballooning.

    The aviation business should be done by the private sector with a hands off approach by the governments. The most they should do is to create the conducive conditions for the investment to succeed. Anything Browne Paper Bag does the Starboy of Stupidity embraces.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 9
  13. Anon B True
    January 12, 2024

    “This is why we do not own things in the private sector as a government,” he stated. “Anything we invest in, that is supposed to be in the private sector is because there is a gap and I don’t believe in the government running anything. Government should not be running anything…” That’s odd. Doesn’t government run DBS? Doesn’t government run DOWASCO? Doesn’t government run DOMLEC? What is the prime minister talking about?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 4
    • ForLoveOfCountry
      January 13, 2024

      He is right, the government should not be building houses for people. That’s what they do in communist countries. The government should put processes in place to facilitate the private section constructing houses for people. I could see this being an economic driver for the country, rather than the hand out it is.

    • Matt
      January 13, 2024

      I know what you mean, but the man is partially right. However, we need gov’t to own certain essential services and resources. We can’t be successful modeling our policies after the U.S, and even they own and control some essentials such as air terrific, military, municipal water, air-waves etc. We can’t just repeat their slogans and maintain any level of autonomy.
      We’d benefit greatly by replacing our ruling party from time to time or every 10yrs. No one-group or one-man has ever been beneficial at this to their populace. It just don’t happen.

  14. Anthony P Ismael
    January 12, 2024

    Despite all the bluster from regional governments, they are all afflicted from the same disease. We do not focus nor cater for intra-regional travel and the taxes imposed on these airline tickets, compared to economies of scale and compensation are out of control. When one examines the current minimum wage in Dominica, how can anyone travel abroad, on these incomes? We were gifted the Federal Palm and the Federal Maple, and we were too myopic in vision to realize the benefits of integration. From then on, we never recovered from this dreaded affliction called: “Caribbean Disunity and Caribbean Mistrust.” In the words of Chalk Dust, “All we have is just sea water and sand.” “Nobody can eat sea water and sand.”
    Black Stalin spoke about “The Caribbean Man from the same place.” Those words fell on deaf and dumb ears.

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