With the Barbadian taxpayer being the single largest shareholder in LIAT and Barbados being the largest source of passengers, it’s difficult to understand why we have not heard from the Minister. Following the outspoken comments made recently by the Prime Minister of Grenada after hundreds of passengers were left stranded across the Caribbean, the Minister of Tourism for St. Lucia, Allan Chastenet, yesterday also joined the fray.
Among, the remarks made were ‘urgent changes (have) to be made to the operations of the regional airline LIAT, even if tough staff decisions have to be made’. He told reporters ‘that until certain fundamental changes are made to the structure of the airline these inconveniences and threats to intra-regional travel will continue to occur’.
Adding ‘If you keep it the same way which is what has happened then you are not going to see any different results’.
And ‘it was amazing that the shareholder governments have not realised that they have to take a tough stance with the staff’.
‘There have (been) numerous complaints in government circles that the airline is overstaffed and its operations, particularly at the airlines headquarters in Antigua and Barbuda, need to be streamlined’.
What is perhaps, most remarkable is that Mr.Chastenet sits on the board of LIAT and yet seems powerless to affect the changes he is calling for.
According to LIAT’s website Barbados is represented on the board by Mr. Grantley Smith and Mr. Irvine Best. Considering, the massive ‘investment the Barbadian taxpayer has made in LIAT, its difficult to understand why our Minister of Tourism does not represent ‘our’ interests on the board.
Maybe he also feels that he does not have either the expertise needed or the influence to bring about management changes.
28 December 2007