St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has clarified his Government’s position on LIAT following reports carried by local and regional media that St Lucia will subsidize the airline, saying that no such decision has been taken.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne was quoted as saying that the governments of St Lucia and Grenada have agreed to subsidize the operations of the Antigua-based regional carrier. He did not reveal the details of the contribution but said they had agreed to putting some money into LIAT at the just concluded Organization of American States (OECS) Authority meeting in Castries.
“The whole idea is to spread the burden and the benefits of LIAT,” Browne said on a local radio station last Saturday.
No decision made yet
But in a statement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Chastanet said his government had not yet made a decision on subsidizing LIAT.
“What we have agreed to is a meeting to discuss some of the issues relevant to the airline. We look forward to continued dialogue with the OECS and other stakeholders on the future of the airline,” he said. He also stressed that his government has been consistent in its position on LIAT, in that “we propose that the airline operate on a strictly commercial basis”.
“We support LIAT as a regional airline and remain committed to seeing the necessary restructuring and some real change in operations at LIAT,” Chastanet said.
The governments of Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica are LIAT’s main shareholders.