St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says his country will no longer be putting money into regional carrier LIAT.
Gonsalves made his position clear following a meeting with LIAT’s Management team in Kingstown on Wednesday where they met to address the poor service the cash-strapped airline has been giving to islands in recent weeks.
According to an article in the Barbados Today newspaper, the Prime Minister via a press statement raised a number of concerns including the lack of information on delays and cancellation of flights to the travelling public.
His hardened stance on LIAT comes against a recent request to the Vincentian Government for $EC810, 000 for the cash-strapped air carrier.
He said not one cent will be put into the airline until significant improvement of service is noted to islands.
The St Vincent Prime Minister also remained adamant that LIAT’s Base should be shifted from Antigua and Barbuda to Barbados.
In February 2015 shareholder governments decided that Barbados would house four of the airline’s ATR aircraft, becoming the main fleet bases, while two planes would remain in Antigua and Barbuda and the other two would be based in Trinidad.
According to the article, Gonsalves was quoted saying, “The company must seek to carry out the mandate of the shareholder and the board of directors in that the decision made by shareholders are not fully implemented by the management of LIAT,” end quote.
In a previous interview he said the decision was merely the better financial option for LIAT at the time.
In light of the decision, LIAT has announced a change in route to ensure timely arrivals into St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Speaking at a press conference in Barbados, the company’s CEO Julie Reifer-Jones said the adjustments will be made to the Grenada. St. Vincent route as it was the route which created the largest difficulty.
“We’re taking our decision based on traffic flows, the flows that we determined that we would cut is on the profitability and the volume, the Grenada and the St. Vincent flow,” she said.
Reifer-Jones said the decision will naturally affect both Grenada and St. Vincent, with Grenada being the most affected.