LIAT Pilot Association Points to Incompetent Management




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18 Comments on “LIAT Pilot Association Points to Incompetent Management”

  1. David October 23, 2016 at 6:14 PM #

    As the largest shareholder in LIAT the Barbados government needs to step up!

    You cant make this stuff up.

    This is the height of incompetence.

    A big thank you to LIALPA.


  2. Violet C Beckles October 23, 2016 at 6:37 PM #

    If government can not run on the GROUND, do not trust them in the AIR, CROOKS AIR , LAND AND SEA,


  3. Pachamama October 23, 2016 at 9:24 PM #


    Maybe this is symptomatic of the state of the regional project.

    In other regions not even ‘death’ stops the trains from running.

    Maybe if a few people, up high, are shot in a public place a level of understanding could be reached.


  4. David October 23, 2016 at 9:29 PM #


    From where we sit this is about a company carrying a high debt burden, bad management, flying challenging flight plans. One wonders how Dr.Warren Smith at the CDB is able to justify lending money to LIAT. They have procured 10 ATRs and counting.


  5. Bush Tea October 23, 2016 at 10:12 PM #

    Having Julie run Liat is like having Froon run Barbados.
    Destination – RUIN.


  6. Mike October 23, 2016 at 10:19 PM #

    Barbados needs to recognize the importance of LIAT to it’s tourism product, truly do a cost/benefit analysis and take control. Liat will not make a profit under the existing structure. As long as LIAT,’s management can continue to ignore directives given, with impunity, nothing will change. Whomever is responsible for ignoring directives should be dismissed. Barbados needs to step up to the plate, take control, and place aircraft where they are needed (i.e where passengers travel to and from).


  7. David October 23, 2016 at 10:24 PM #

    So far we have St. Lucia’s prime minister leaving the charge not to invest on cent in LIAT, we have Mitchell in Grenada, Antigua manages LIAT as they would a state enterprise. Who will bell the cat here?


  8. David October 23, 2016 at 10:39 PM #


    The airline’s chief financial officer Julie Reifer-Jones,

    The airline’s chief financial officer Julie Reifer-Jones,

    51 Vying For LIAT Top Post

    Date: Fri October 21, 2016 in News | Regional |

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Oct 20 2016 – Despite widespread criticism of its current level of service, Vincentian Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves reported Wednesday that strong interest had been expressed in the vacant post of chief executive officer at the beleaguered regional airline LIAT.

    “I am told 51 people applied. Despite [the criticisms], a lot of people want to run LIAT you know,” Gonsalves, who is chairman of the airline’s shareholder governments, told reporters at a news conference here.

    Without going into details, he said an independent company was handling the process of selecting a new chief executive officer for the Antigua-based carrier, in which the Government of Barbados is the largest shareholder.

    “There is a company which has been selected to bring down this list. Then there is a process which is ongoing with the board of directors, and the chairman will advise us with their recommendation,” Gonsalves added.

    This is the third time in three years that the airline, of which the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica are also shareholders, has been seeking to fill its top position.

    United Kingdom-born airline executive David Evans was the latest to exit the CEO’s chair after occupying that position from April 2014 until April 2016.

    Prior to that Ian Brunton, a former Caribbean Airlines executive, held the post from August 2012 to September 2013.

    The airline’s chief financial officer Julie Reifer-Jones, who has been acting since Evans’ departure, also held the reins after the resignation of Brunton. Now she is said to be among the 51 applicants hoping to be confirmed in the job.

    However, Gonsalves did not give an expected timeline for the new CEO to be selected and appointed, but reports out of St John’s suggest that it could be within the next three months.


  9. James Lynch October 24, 2016 at 7:50 AM #

    The public is not aware that bipolar Raplh “Schizo” Gonsalves has been micromanaging LIAT ever since he was appointed Chairman of the shareholders, even to the point of demanding that a LIAT aircraft land on his own white elephant Argyle Airport – unfinished, uncertified, uninsured, and unready due to a gaping hole two-thirds of the way down the runway where they were still installing the drainage culverts across the runway.

    Yet the moment Raplh “Schizo” Gonsalves saw LIAT cancel a flight which his sports team was supposed to catch he erupted in a furore of indignation – to hell with all the other delays, cancellations and mis-handled baggage of passengers across the entire network, his team was inconvenienced and that was the first unacceptable item that he ever felt impelled to react to.

    “Schizo” now has a history of unacceptable behaviour. He took it upon himself to present awards of excellence to schoolchildren in Barbados – yet so far as I can discover he has never done so in his own country. Recently – with a bare majority of one seat in Parliament – he passed laws restricting Press freedom and making it a crime to criticise himself, the Prime Minister – which is a cowardly way of accelerating his dictatorship to try and emulate his idols, Chavez and now Maduro of Venezuela (hopefully St. Vincent will not experience the starvation seen there).

    LIAT also has a history of asinine and incompetent management. I left there twenty years ago and in those years witnessed management so bad that it may perhaps be described as anti-management or a-management.

    The LIAT Board has NEVER had anyone on it who was not a political appointee collecting his or her just rewards for political favours. LIAT’s Board has NEVER had anyone on it who had a clue about aviation. LIAT’s Board has NEVER had anyone on it who could come up with a viable path forward for the airline.

    Perhaps I should also explain to the public that a commercial pilot – charter, airline or LIAT – is required by law to refrain from flying if they do not feel well. Not just a cold or the ‘flu, but also if they do not feel well (and “tired” is part of that broad range). Commercial pilots require years to be trained, decades to make command, are not bus or truck drivers, and the vehicles they operate cannot stop just anywhere so the operator can “take a leak”, vomit or deal with diarreah. This really is serious business, not building renovation.

    “Schizo” and his Board and management team have created the conditions which now exist. It is therefore unreasonable – but within “Schizo’s” two-faced mandate – to expect that a busier schedule, higher workloads, less rest time, less days off and less vacation will not impact on the true care of the airline which they CANNOT do without – it’s pilots.

    “Schizo” and his Board and management team behave as though the pilots are a bunch of spoiled brats. In fact they are hard-working professionals being pushed beyond their professional and legal limits, not to mention health and comfort levels.

    As has been called for repeatedly for decades now, REMOVE “Schizo”, the Board and this incompetent management team and replace them with people who “have a clue” about fast-moving airlines – and perhaps the airline will break even as many have forecast.

    An airline is not the place to practice Marxism, Socialism or even Communism, yet year after year we see the same political INSANITY percolating down from and through the highest levels of LIAT and the same politically INSANE expectations at the end of every financial year.

    Get off the pot, leave the studio, exit the stage, just get those politricks the hell away from LIAT, or it WILL fail. NONE of you can afford to keep pumping large sums of taxpayer money into the carrier, least of all 51% shareholder Barbados (now approaching 11 Billion dollars in national debt).

    The employees are not the problem, those who call the shots are the problem. And an airline is not a haberdashery or a construction company, so do it right for once or lose the resource, it really is that simple.


  10. Bush Tea October 24, 2016 at 8:14 AM #

    Well said.


  11. David October 24, 2016 at 8:17 AM #

    Can you explained how how the relatively new ATRs have become invested with cockroaches leading to some crew falling sick because of the high level of pesticides rerequired?


  12. James Lynch October 24, 2016 at 12:40 PM #

    While we are on the subject of LIAT, perhaps it is also a good time to demand that the audited accounts for the last 50 years also be made public. An entity bought, owned and maintained financially by taxpayers should produce and publish its audited accounts as a matter of public record, not be kept hidden as national secrets.


  13. James Lynch October 24, 2016 at 12:57 PM #

    “David October 24, 2016 at 8:17 AM
    Can you explained how how the relatively new ATRs have become invested with cockroaches leading to some crew falling sick because of the high level of pesticides rerequired?”

    The only access I know of for insects to be living in an airplane is from the place it is parked for a period of time – they climb the landing gear and get in that way. 40 years ago I remember going into one of Air Calypso’s Convair 440 parked by Aero Services on the south side (Barbados), and the usually beige wall and ceiling were a solid brown carpet with the active roaches. Obviously there has to be some kind of food to attract them, so spillage (and not being cleaned up) has to be part of the problem.

    And the only real complete solution to an infestation is to do a cyanide fogging – to get into every crevice the airplane has to be taken off line, sealed and fog-bombed for at least 24 hours, just as a house would have to be.

    The ATRs have not turned out to be the marvellous money-savers they were touted to be. Where the LIAT Board was told they use less fuel (gph) than the Dash-8s, in fact they use the same – the figures quoted must have been from the earlier, slower models, but these engines were “up-rated’ to make the airplanes go faster.

    I am told the interior furnishings – cabin and cockpit – are cheap and falling apart, and that the floor of the baggage hold is already sagging. These airp[lanes are two years old from new, yet the 30-year-old Dash-8s which took LIAT’s beating all that time were hardy and needed just a wipe-down to look like new again.

    I have heard that Reifer Jones is being criticised… which I believe is justified. I spoke to sonmeone else who interviewed her before she got the job at LIAT, and he described her demonstrated knowledge and not even nearly matching her paper qualifications. This is someone who was an accounmtant at Almond Resorts, her next step was CFO at LIAT – thanks to her very good friend, LIAT Chairman Jean Holder.

    The problems of LIAT were NOT caused by the employees but by political mismanagement from above, complete incompetence by the Board, and inept management by the current executives.


  14. James Lynch October 25, 2016 at 7:11 PM #

    If Julie Riefer-Jones is appointed the next CEO – EVEN AFTER LIALPA’S “TRAINING WHEELS” REMARK – you will know 100% that no changes are being permitted by the shareholders, and that the end is in sight. Expect the employees to continue to be blamed for the incompetence and stupidity which rules the highest segment of that airline – shareholders, Board and executive management.


  15. Tell me Why October 27, 2016 at 9:16 AM #

    Am I to believe that individuals are appointed to management position based on friendship and political interference instead of qualification? Can anyone state the qualifications of supervisors to specialised management and compare their qualifications with normal individuals who are more qualified to the job professionally instead of friendship?

    David. Cockroaches do not hitch rides on a plane when you have constant movement. You will find them out in numbers in the still of the night. Probably, you might find them with Antiqua passports looking for political asylum or simply doing island hopping.


  16. David October 27, 2016 at 10:08 AM #

    LIAT has been mismanaged for years, like a department of the civil service of Antigua. One wonders on what basis the CDB was able to advance millions to fund the procurement of the ATRs.


  17. James Lynch October 27, 2016 at 3:29 PM #

    I’d like to make a small correction, David. “like a department of the civil service of Antigua”, yes, but the other shareholder islands make (their own incompetent) political appointee contributions too.

    The last CEO was perhaps the most unsuited to the airline – from his business behaviour CLEARLY he had agreed to change nothing in order to get the job – but along the last four decades – in my personal knowledge – LIAT has had one herd of jackasses after another doing their own thing in LIAT’s Board and at LIAT’s Head Office.

    My personal experience as a LIAT pilot and an Executive member of LIALPA clearly demonstrates that the pilots follow their contracts to the letter, and the principal aim of the Executive is always to keep the airline functioning. But management is ALWAYS “screwing the hog” and I will give you some examples…

    About 30 years ago, after the employee groups refused to cooperate LIAT management applied to the Court to use the funds in the employee Provident Fund (retirement money) as operating capital. Since the Articles forbade it, the Court agreed and stopped management from touching the money. So management’s action was to stop putting the contributions into the Fund – both the 5% deducted from the employee’s salary and the 3% from the company (contractual agreements) – and when I left in 1996 LIAT owed the Fund in excess of US$10 million (ILLEGALLY withheld).

    To this day nobody has even been arrested for this travesty and law-breaking.

    I was part of the first pilot sick-out where we had been negotiating a one-year contract for 10 years and we were still getting nowhere. Those days inflation was around 8%, so our pitiful salaries (they do not begin to compare with global equivalents) had lost almost 20% of their spending power in a country where EVERYTHING is expensive.

    A couple of years ago the LIAT pilots went on another sick-out. Can you guess why? Yup, another ten years negotiating and still getting nowhere.

    On both occasions the airline had actually wasted well over EC$5 million in salaries for senior management and pilots to be away from their normal work to sit around a table and promote with a stalling tactic that still goes on to this day.

    If management were competent and wanted to get things done none, of this would have happened. But management is not competent, not then and not now – the cost of fuel is HALF what it was 10 years ago, and LIAT is STILL losing money.

    What is more, the Board were brambled into a whole new fleet change because they simply have no expertise or knowledge in aviation. A new CEO from Trinidad came before them, made a presentation for shiny new airplanes, told them a wash of lies, and they swallowed the entire bait, sinker, line and fishing pole, accepting a further burden (on the taxpayers, of course) of US%$100 million.

    Had ANYBODY on the Board some experience in aviation they could at the very least have consulted with experts and disprived at least 50% of what they were being told. And they would have found out that they could have refurbished ALL of the Dash-8s to zero time at Bombardier for as little as US$15 million.

    PLUS PLUS PLUS the cost of the transition – remember, one of the reasons LIAT management claims they have not replaced any of the 31 pilots who left since they changed fleets is that they cannot afford the high costs of training.

    So while Officers of LIAT, from shareholder PMs, Board and management down, cry crocodile tears and wail about how BAD these awful pilots are, just remember that when true professionals decide they face danger and down tools, that is what professionals are supposed to do, and that is WHY they are professionals.

    It is the amateurs who keep on working when they are falling asleep on the job and so present the greatest danger to the public.

    Let me finish with my current mantra: LIAT shareholders have kept LIAT’s annual accounts Top Secret for the last 40 years – yes, almost half a century now with NO ACCOUNTS and NO ACCOUNTABILITY. And when the taxpayers – who have to actually pull their pockets to pay the bills – ask for such financial information, they are told it is none of their business, as if they have no rights.

    So ARROGANCE on top of the STUPIDITY, INCOMPETENCE and MALFAISANCE. We should be demanding that the shreholders release ALL of LIAT’s annual accounts going back to when they bought it from Courtline and it was reconstituted in bankruptcy in 1974.



  18. David October 27, 2016 at 3:44 PM #


    The unions have been clobbered almost to submission although the BWU did make a stand against the BWA recently. Truth be told the BWA was and still is in a weakened condition. If the NUPW cannot standup for one of their own like you stated they need to close shop.


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