Jean Holder resigned two years ago but continues to perform the role as Chairman.

Jean Holder resigned two years ago but continues to perform the role as Chairman.

We were asked to share the following article with the BU family. Although against our policy which is to be original in our postings sometimes we have to concede when there is merit in deviating from policy.

Business: LIAT’s turning point?


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

THE Caribbean is a diverse multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-culinary, multi-genre (musical) and multi-lingual region officially made up of an archipelago of islands and selected mainland emerging territories nested between North and South America, Central America in the West and the Atlantic Ocean in the East, in and bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

The 17 English heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (7); South (7) and West (3) with an estimated population of six million, including the mainland territories of Belize and Guyana. The six French heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (5) and South (1) with an estimated population of 17.2 million, including the mainland territory of French Guiana. The seven Dutch heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (3); South (1) and West (3) with an estimated population of 0.8 million, including the mainland territory of Suriname. The three Spanish heritage administrations in the Caribbean sea are all in the North with an estimated population of 22.5 million, including the US territory of Puerto Rico. There are 33 Caribbean administrations with a total population of 46.5 million, albeit over managed, which is not to be ignored as a geographical market to be explored within the wider Latin American and Caribbean region.

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19 thoughts on “LIAT

  1. Humpty Dumpty sat on a Wall…………Humpty Dumpty had a Great Fall….All the Kings Horses and all the Kings men……………………………………………….Couldn,t put Humpty Dumpty back together again…………….. Dats all Folks Coming to a theatre near you

  2. decided to withhold comment after I glanced below and saw the name of the consultant responsible for the article which is not thought provoking coming from him as usual. Apart from the geographical lesson, what does it offer by way of improving the management of humpty dumpty to provide the region with a cheaper and more reliable service.

    • Didn’t the man give 10 guiding principles how he believes LIAT should proceed?

      We need to stop making comments based on who is the messenger

  3. @ David
    Was the author of this article a director of CLICO? And if he was, how many years was he a director?

    • @Nostradamus

      Yes he was, what are you suggesting? All of them are culpable? Sir Hilary was a Director. Senator Tony Marshall was a Director. The list is long.

  4. The 10 guiding principles listed by Dr. Springer are nothing new and repeated or incorporated in all the management speak heard in management training courses, business conferences, seminars and public speeches ad nauseam. This is just another exercise in intellectual masturbation.

    What he fails to speak to is the day-to-day political interference in the management of that business entity called LIAT. It is this political intrusion at the micro-management level that sours the entire 10 ingredients listed by the Change-Agent consultant and compromises their application in operating that airline.

    Now that the former CEO has been relieved of the strictures his contract of employment he would be doing the airline and the region a world of good if he were to come clean and ‘tell it like it is’. Let him tell us the real non-technical reasons hampering the effective management of LIAT and stop with the doublespeak. He needs to expose the Truth without favour or fear of the consequences of the political toe mashing he might incidentally perform.
    But we doubt it since he appears to be a member of the social nest of termites that are eroding the social and economic fabric of the region so painstakingly fabricated by their forefathers including both political leaders of the EWB era and ordinary hardworking committed citizens proud to be Caribbean people. The current LIAT fiasco is not what EWB’s dream of integration is all about.

  5. LOLOLOLOL @ David
    Sir Hilary was a Director. Senator Tony Marshall was a Director. The list is long.
    …man David you mekking mock sport at the BU family.
    What is this? A list of bovine excreters?

    Bushie agrees with balance.

    • @Miller

      If the 10 guiding principles are practiced what do you think would be the result. Tacit in his Springer’s offering is that management must be allowed to manage.

    • @Bush Tea

      The not too subtle point which appears too subtle for…is that the reservoir of ‘prominent’ persons which comprise our Boards have the same profile.

  6. Management should be allowed to manage……whch begs the question…who and whom does management takes orders from……Isn,t LIAT borne and bred through political how then can political interference be avoided………….my hands are folded……………..

  7. @Nostradamus
    Yes he was, what are you suggesting? All of them are culpable? Sir Hilary was a Director. Senator Tony Marshall was a Director. The list is long.

    I didn’t suggest they are “all” culpable, especially the 2 mentioned above because I don’t know if, when and how long they were directors. But hell yes someone must be culpable.

    I do see that according to the Sunday Sun, Springer is one of the directors that BIPA’s attorney’s are in the process of taking action against.

    “No fewer than 13 defendants are being summoned. Among the high profile persons served were former Executive Chairman of CLICO Holdings (Barbados), Leroy Parris, and his Trinidad counterpart Lawrence Duprey, represented by Hal Gollop, QC; Leslie Haynes, Woodbine Davis, Anthony Ellis and Basil Springer, CLICO directors, represented by Elliott Mottlley, QC, and David Griffith, former Accountant-General and a director, whose counsel is Vernon Smith, QC. ”

    Maybe Springer could give us an article on the responsibilities of Company Directors and benchmark that against his service as a director of CLICO.

  8. Queens Counsel, Elliott Mottley (right) and Vernon Smith (second from right) and other attorneys leaving the High Court today after appearing in one of the two CLICO cases.

    crooks from the start Sir who. please crooks and more crooks same names all the time none better than any.

  9. My Mum said she flew on a LIAT aeroplane to and from St Vincent in the early 60’s and the captains name was Brian Nanton.She also said that as far as she is aware LIAT started operations between Montserrat and Antigua in 1956.If that is correct LIAT is 57 years old and not 50 as stated.
    These names keep cropping up recently in cases before the courts of Barbados.
    Gollop,Mottley,Smith.Are we to assume these are ambulance chasers for the stinking Dems and the leperous financiers of that sick political stinking party?

    • Another view from the leader of the St. Lucia Opposition. Bear in mind he is a former Marketing Manager of Air Jamaica.

      Liat service a concern for St Lucia opposition party
      UWP Leader Allen Chastanet says the operations of LIAT are critical to the tourism industry and the overall business market of St Lucia, notwithstanding, the dependency on LIAT for the delivery of professional and efficient service.
      CASTRIES, St.Lucia, Monday September 30, 2013, CMC – The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has expressed concern about the service provided by the regional carrier LIAT.
      UWP Leader Allen Chastanet says the operations of LIAT are critical to the tourism industry and the overall business market of St Lucia, notwithstanding, the dependency on LIAT for the delivery of professional and efficient service.
      “Despite the fact that LIAT operates as a monopoly, the airline continues to burden regional governments financially and has consistently fallen short from the required standards which the market demands,” said Chastanet , a former Tourism Minister .
      He observed that St Lucians have over-extended their patience and tolerance with LIAT without the commensurate improvements from the airline in its services.

  10. A case can be made that, absent an efficient ferry service between the islands, LIAT is an essential service. As such the politicians, who are accountable to the electorate, should take their hands off, appoint a competent airline operations professional, not a bean-counter, and let him/her run the airline. Most savvy investors will always find the most competent person they can to manage their investments…and then let that person do the job they have been hired to do.

    LIAT’s problems are mostly operational. That means that an operational solution must be found.

    Since the foundation of LIAT (1974) Ltd., LIAT has been over-managed and under-led, with most of the micro-managing coming from a certain St. Vincent political leader. LIAT needs a leader like Herb Kelleher to bring them out of the operational rut in which they find themselves.

  11. A St. Vincent editorial:

    LIAT: An admission at last
    Did Dr. Gonsalves ever, anywhere in the Caribbean,  admit to the folly of LIAT in the detailed, single manner in which he did in his recent town hall meeting in New York?

    If he did, we stand ready to be corrected.  In the meantime, we will posit that he never did and no one else with the authority so to so, ever did.

    Admittedly, there were references to one shortcoming or the other, but incessantly, LIAT shareholders, Directors and Public Relations specialists sought to put their own ‘top spin’ on the problems and the avalanche of complaints from home and abroad.

    To be honest, Dr. Gonsalves seemed heading on the path to a forthright examination of the airline when he availed himself of an interview in Grenada some time back.  Unfortunately, we were disappointed when that interview descended into a shouting match of sorts, and pertinent issues went a begging.

    So, taking off on the position that the shareholders’ Chairman had never been before so forthright about the current predicament of LIAT, the question abounds:  Why did he choose to be so honest, fluid, detailed to an audience far removed from the daily trials and tribulations inflicted on travelers by LIAT within its 21 destination schedule?

    Could it be that, not armed with the kind of sustained bad experiences with LIAT, the audience was prepared to listen rather than question?

    LIAT re-fleeting exercise had problems.  The majority of LIAT-watchers  knew that already; but it was good to be vindicated by the admission from the shareholders’ Chairman himself. 

    Why therefore, was there all this effort to ‘cover up’ in the face of complaints right, left and centre?  Wouldn’t it have been kinder had the leaders, who would want to convince us of the need to prop up LIAT’s debilitating financial position, leveled with Caribbean people, the taxpayers from among whom the money will come to ‘salvage’ LIAT, and admit that there were serious managerial errors made?  Admit that there was extremely poor planning and forecasting by highly paid Executives?  Admit that there was more in the mortar than the pestle, with the race to acquire the French-built ATRs?  Admit further that may be, just may be, the choice of the ATRs was made against the advice of knowledgeable persons whose ‘expertise’, it appears, couldn’t match those of the then sitting CEO?

    That LIAT is on a no-turning-back trek to further debt as it pursues its re-fleeting exercise, albeit necessary, given its aging DASH 8 fleet, is without doubt.  The shareholder governments, to varying proportions,  have guaranteed a loan of some US$67 million towards raising some US$110, the estimated cost of ‘re-fleeting’.

    Question:  Does that amount include provision for the training of pilots and the contracting of ‘new’ pilots to man the DASH 8 aircrafts during the period of acquisition of the French aircraft?

    Given that the CEO, who was mandated and well paid to oversee the re-fleeting exercise, found it appropriate to ‘tender his resignation’, and given the acceptance of that resignation, what is to prevent Caribbean people from assuming that the whole re-fleeting affair has found itself in a sordid mess, and LIAT is deeper into the cesspool than when it took possession of its first ATR aircraft, an activity that was heralded with much pomp and fanfare in at least three Caribbean ports, SVG included?

    Dr. Gonsalves has just about cowed under the pressure of the ‘cover up’ and acknowledged that ‘the re-fleeting exercise had problems’.  He will feel light-headed for having done that.

    And forgive us for having to say it, but it was not the most honourable thing to say that the management of LIAT did not communicate properly (and honestly) to the people of the region, the extent of the problems that arose from the outset of the transition period.

    Not that the management should ever be exonerated, but this offering by the SVG Prime Minister speaks to the real bosses passing the buck (of blame) into the hands of those who are paid to do the job.  How unfair!!!  In fact, those who are salaried owe us nothing directly other than to ensure a proper service; it is from our Prime Ministers who represent our interests as taxpayers who prop up the ailing airline, and those who ensure it stays in the skies, from whom accountability should be forthcoming and if not, should be demanded.

    LIAT, we reiterate, is going nowhere.  It means too much to Vincentians now, and even more to the fledging economy of Antigua.

    And the likelihood of it being immersed in a single Caribbean airline is, for all intents and purposes, a pipedream. 

    So where do we go from here?  Is it time to consider privatizing LIAT,- with governments ensuring policy and regulatory measures that will encourage competition that will eventually determine the cost of travel within the region?

    That, of course, is a whole other story.

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