Saint Lucia restates its opposition to providing a financial bailout to LIAT


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  1. As a retired LIAT pilot, after 20 years service, subsequent to 40 years service as a UK Licenced pilot/navigator throughout the Guyanas, the Amazon Basin, including Brazil, the Caribbean and worldwide, and serving on various aviation bodies, I Have been and continue to be appalled at Mr. Chastanet’s opposition to LIAT over the years. His ambitions have always been in evidence, as exemplified by his current reference to “no shortage of entrepeneursship in aviation” and his observation that there are “locals” one of whom is actually “putting on” a service between Grenada, St Lucia and Dominica. LIAT has had its problems over the years, largely contributed to by the failure of certain islands to contribute to its finances while demanding extra services and adding to the cost of air fares by pocketing excessive charges for the utilisation of their airports and services. St Lucia has been foremost in this regard. Despite the aggression LIAT has contributed an invaluable service to aviation in general and the Caribbean community in particular. Its dissolution would not merely be a sad event but a travesty, a deplorable bending to the will of a few individuals with their own agenda and a huge blow to the values of Caricom, to which It contributed so much, even continuing to serve those who not only failed to contribute to its survival but sought its demis.

  2. Greetings Mr Ross

    I am saddened by your dissolution and I understand that you may have fond memories of list in its golden years, but let us be honest with Soo many political interests in an organization that is supposed to be closer to private in the manner that it is run and with such a difficult geopolitical environment to operate from, at least from a business person’s stand point, renegotiation and restructuring is imperative, or else this company will never be able to fend for itself and it will never have any real incentive to operate in a manner to that helps the Caribbean people advance and grow. If you look at it from the prospective of how much is lost in regional development through the inefficient operations of liat and the exorbitant prices for air travel, irrespective of whether all the share holders put the money in or not, eventually the economic forces will destroy that company and cause great losses for all involved in sustaining it when a competitor comes in with a better product. Furthermore, a better competitor hasn’t come into the picture as yet not because it is so difficult to start an aviation business in the Caribbean but instead because of the same political forces that have kept liat alive. They have been blocking companies with better and cheaper services for the sake of keeping a retarded dinosaur alive.


    Mr Small

  3. It’s a replay of the West Indies Federation this time in the Airline Industry. Next they will dissolve the stable EC currency and China will become the new colonial master.

  4. Greetings Mt. Small,
    Thank you for your response, your comments are well taken. I am also grateful for the opportunity to correct a few glaring errors in my previous correspondence, which were due to my rush to respond to Mr. Chastinet’s press release which was evidently intended to influence public opinion at a time when a major decision was being made in relation to LIAT’s future. For what it is worth, my actual number of years in the cockpit was 34 of which 30 years were as an airline pilot, including.27 as a UK Licenced ALTP/Navigator.
    I agree with and entirely support your observations which should, indeed, have been included in mine. Not that this changes any of my others.
    LIAT was never a major financial project, but, under the management of Sir Frank DeLisle it held its own with an unbelievable degree of loyalty and commitment of staff at all levels Subsequent events, including the Court Line era with adequate private financial support, continued its glory days. Court Line’s collapse as a result of extending its business activities to the oil industry immediately before the oil crisis, created a new chapter. LIAT was rescued with assistance from the Venezuelan government and thereafter the government role came more noticeably into play. As you suggest, this was a disaster. There was the usual power play and demands with inadequate financial commitment. Worse, political and social interference in the establishment of the management structure left the administration with less than the required ability to conduct the affairs of a viable airline. This has continued over the years to the detriment of what was once an efficient and well respected airline which fought off all challengers, including the once mighty Stanford establishment. While I agree with most of your comments, I do not believe that a replacement is the answer. I truly resent the its clasification “retarded dinosaur”. LIAT has the infrastructure to become a viable and efficient airline and the brand is legendary. I have noted Prime Minister Gaston Brown’s declared intention to retain the name and restructure with an involvement of the private sector – hopefully a meaningful one. It behoves us all to give our full support to this endeavour.



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