Adrian Loveridge Column – How High Will Cruise Ship Industry Bounce?

With cruises slated to return to the Caribbean from November, after what must be perceived as one of the biggest public relations catastrophes in the history of tourism, is there any way that we, here on Barbados or throughout the region, can gain a far more equitable share of the past profits and revenues this sector has generated in years to come?

According to ALG- Global, the number of cruise passengers has increased by more than 60 per cent over the last 10 years, reaching a 28.5 million throughput in 2018. Out of these, 40 per cent of the passengers are concentrated in the Caribbean market, which is the single highest market in the entire cruise sector.

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, state that North America accounts for around 12 million of departing cruise ship passengers annually.
This despite the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of ships which ply the Caribbean Sea are not registered under the US flag, therefore not subject to US employment laws, covering among many others things, minimum wages and labour laws. As an example, industry brand giants Royal Caribbean’s corporate domicile is in Liberia and Carnival’s, Panama, despite being headquartered in the United States.

Many would agree that Barbados has done an extraordinary job of permitting dozens of cruise ships to anchor-off our shores eventually discharging thousands of crew members before allowing them to fly home, when other islands and some mainland ports have denied that dispensation and compassion.

Will those humanitarian concessions be taken in to account when cruise ship itineraries are being scheduled and marketed for late 2020 and 2021 or will ‘our’ reach-out be forgotten in the quest of returning to profitability?

Clearly we, as a country, have clearly demonstrated ‘our’ ability’ to handle large numbers of persons joining or leaving, even the largest capacity vessels presently afloat.

Following the trauma of Covid-19, future cruise ship passengers will inevitably consider this as a critical booking factor before selecting a particular Caribbean itinerary, to avoid being stranded at sea for an indeterminate time, should a similar or food based virus re-occur.

Increased Home-porting could also play a critical role in airlift recovery, allowing some airlines to sell any unsold cruise passenger seats to long stay visitors, increasing the fiscal benefit to the destination.

There also remains the unresolved inequity between the contribution made by the land based and cruise sectors. ‘Our’ ability to repatriate the sea farers was largely created by our land-based partners, whose payment of taxes provided the infrastructure to make it possible.

If there is ever going to be a balance of a level playing field, Government must re-visit the subject of disparity in taxation. Currently there is no VAT on cruise packages and the individual passenger charges currently levied do not in any way compensate for the national investment already made which supports this sector.  Our land based tourism partners are subject to corporation tax, income tax, national insurance, VAT, land taxes, room levies and a bevy of other impositions, which cruise operators totally avoid.

Hopefully, all these considerations will be in the minds of our policymakers, as and when the cruise ships return.

94 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Column – How High Will Cruise Ship Industry Bounce?

  1. The cruise ship industry will be about SURVIVAL, forget all the remaining WISH LISTS. Already several Cruise operations have fallen into BANKRUPTCY and several billion in ships are presently listed FOR SALE.

    This is part of the Caribbean GHOST TOURISM INDUSTRY that was, PAST TENSE. COVID 19 was the final nail in the coffin that sank the GOOD TIME imaginary GDP. Next major blow is going to be the FAILURE of several MAJOR WORLD AIRLINES, likely to include a couple of prominent US airlines.

    Its time for ALL TOURIST dominated countries to remove the ROSE COLORED SUNGLASSES and do some self analysis and realistic planning for the future survival with significantly reduced INCOME and HIGH DEBT levels.

  2. as a bajan living overseas i can say that people want to vacation. they want to move around. Cruises were some of the best ways to do so. yes the cruise industry has been hard hit and there has been some bankruptcies and more fall out possibility but i think the death of the cruise industry is highly overstated.

    i also think that MAM hedged her bets v well with regard to how she handled them during COVID. When it bounces back (it is only a matter of time and in what iteration) i hope the industry does not forget how well Barbados treated them during a time of crisis.

  3. @ Greene

    Going to bed in one city and waking up in another is no way to get to know different countries and cultures. The most you do is what cruise visitors to Barbados do, you get off the boat, jump in a taxi, go for a drive with the driver acting as guide, then back on board and off to another city/country.
    But it is not that easy. Someone close tome, of Jamaican birth, likes going on Caribbean cruise. Last time he visited Jamaica, with his Barbados-born wife, the immigration guy was genuflecting to the white passengers as they left the ship. When he got to him the officer addressed him as ‘bwoy’ and told him come yeh.
    Of course, his Bajan wife blew her fuse and the black immigration officer wanted to show these white visitors how they deal with black bwoys. It took some of the passengers and ship crew to intervene. They had sailed from Miami with the couple and had formed an idea of their decency.
    This is the unstated part of tourism. Unless you experience it you may not appreciate it. Some time ago I stayed at Discovery and was in and out minding my business with my companion, until I got in to conversation with the reception, a woman, while waiting to pick up a car.
    Within minutes it was known that I was a Bajan. Eventually, after much hesitation, a short street wise guy cam up to me and asked why was I staying in the hotel and not with my family.
    The Barbados Condition at its most expressive. I just ignored him.

  4. @Hal
    i have been on about 6 cruises. they are good for 7 days if one likes prepackaged holidays. a lot of people do.

    you may enjoyed a more meaningful holiday so cruises may not be for you. but cruises are ideal for Brits and Yanks who saved up years to travel on a big ship, visit some islands, buy a Tee shirt or 2 and eat to their heart’s content.

    to that end they served their purpose. all we in Bim have to do is try to find ways of relieving them of some of their allocated holiday spend

  5. I agree Green, cruises have their attractions, it’s like going to McDonald’s, you get what you expect. The issue for cruise operators presently is they all carrying HIGH DEBT LOADS and NO REVENUE coming in. This pandemic situation dies not appear to be abatting and is presently on the rebound. Initial total shutdown appeared to get it under control, however the limited relaxation, US EXCEPTED, is resulting in daily cases starting to increase again. The US situation of full opening is showing exactly what to expect, total lockdown again to get the situation back under control. With these unknowns I cannot see any return to “normal” tourism travel for the next year or possible more. Any business cannot weather this timeframe with no or limited revenue.

  6. @ David

    Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit confirmed yesterday that, at a meeting held on Saturday, June 27, 2020, LIAT shareholders had taken a decision to liquidate the company.

    And, according to SVG’s PM and chairman of LIAT’s shareholder governments, Ralph Gonsalves, the airline’s employees are due approximately $83.9M and $10M for severance and vacation payments respectively.

  7. WILLY

    Those that cannot will go bankrupt and come again or will be taken over/ bought out and come again. Every day we are getting close to a vaccine.

    ATL airport is nearly back to 50 % domestic travel when i passed through yesterday – and flights are filling the middle seats.
    All passengers were wearing mask and about 99 % of airport workers/visitors..

  8. Adrian Loveridge has raised some good points regarding equitable sharing of the cost of infrastructure. I fully agree. There should no no reason why cruise ship charges should be exempted from VAT. When you go through Miami, you pay federal tax. Try telling them that you do not wish to pay tax.

    These infrastructure projects such as airport and port structures and systems are expensive, why should an industry that uses a significant portion not take their share of cost?

    On the matter of resurgence of business, as Wily said, no company can take months without revenue. The virus is running free in the US, so even if the US tourists are willing to jump on a plane or boat, what island with any brain is going to let them in without testing most of which results will be positive for the virus, at least, for the foreseeable future?

    However, contrary to that is what Greene said, people are itching to travel. True, many are not earning and cannot look to travel, but some so have the money. Britons and Canadians can travel, have lower positive cases than the US, with testing can be allowed to travel.

    But these will likely be restricted to this new term of air bridges, being intercountry exceptions to allow travel. Cruises pass too many ports, will require too much testing during the route.

    Land based tourism will recover before cruises because of this. On the issue of airlines, yes, there will be bankruptcies, but the financiers will use the popular capitalist trick of shut down and restart i.e. liquidate one company, tell creditors to get lost, then form a brand new company and restart, with no old liabilities. That is the new norm.

    Where there is potential profit, capital will come, so old airlines with new names and new employee contracts, including pilots, will start up.

    I see tourism recommencing with these airbridges in a few months, but not full fledged travel until early 2021 at the earliest.

    For Barbados, the UK and Canada will be the mainstay, because the US is totally out to lunch on the virus and the election coming is going to engross all of their capacity over the next few months, until the end of November.

    I do think that the Barbados government’s brilliant performance in managing the virus and the cruise ship enablement will pay dividends. People will go where they feel safe. Barbados has proved what it can do and what ethos it carries, even while places, even such as Miami, were telling ships to get lost.

    Government in Barbados has done everything right in this, absolutely exceptional. At this point one relies on the vagaries of the market and goodwill of international partners.

  9. The announced requirement to have a COVID test and certificate dated within 72 hours of your arrival in Barbados will not encourage tourists to visit. In Canada it takes up to 5 days to get the results of a Covid test. In the USA it is up tp 10 days to get results. One can get a quicker result if one is “showing symptoms” , in which case why would you travel? I have just cancelled two trips to the island. One in July and one In October. I have booked again for May of 2021. Lets hope by then there is a better protocol or a vaccine in place because my family could not make that trip under the conditions that have been announced.

  10. @ David

    In addition to the $93.9M I previously mentioned, there will obviously be an outstanding amount for prepaid bookings.

    The company does not have any assets. Of the 10 aircraft operated by LIAT, the CDB has priority charge on 3 and the others 7 are leased.

    You’re probably correct…… the shareholders may have to ‘foot the bill.’

  11. LIAT is broke. So our Most Honourable Prime Minister has finally exposed old OSA as a wanna-be economist.

    It is up in the air if and when there will be a new airline between the Pirate and Pepper Islands and Barbados. At least this will contain the spread of the Wuhan plague. LOL.

  12. @ Tron

    Did Arthur ask to see the LIAT books before accepting the offer of the chairmanship? Whatever happened to the 49 per cent Barbados share ownership? Did we try to sell it, and couldn’t? Or we thought the Great Professor Arthur could inject some life back in to the LIAT corpse?
    Here is a prediction: some commercial entity will buy the company from the administrators and turn it in to a profitable company. Remember Barbados Mutual?

  13. Certain islands are footing the bill fir LIAT
    Then taxing the travelers which is increasing the cost for a ticket.
    Then turning again and using that tax money to bail out LIAT

    Fund LIAT for five years. Resturcture/ scale back Make the employee share holders in the company. Eliminate the taxes.
    Profit to be shared between the supporting. Giverments and the employees

  14. @ Hal Austin June 29, 2020 12:46 PM
    @ John2 June 29, 2020 12:50 PM

    The local governments will definitely not inject money here. We’re talking about $35 million in back pay for employees alone. This is not a national bankruptcy, this is a private company.The governments will liquidate the existing LIAT and set up a new company which is not liable for the debts of the old company. The pilots should be happy if they can start over there at lower salaries. There will definitely be no back payment from March to June.

  15. @ Hal Austin June 29, 2020 12:46 PM

    In my opintion, it is impossible to attract a private airline or any other private investor because LIAT has no assets or existing assets are already mortgaged. Only the name and the website are valuable. However, these two elements could be sold separately.

    I assume that the local governments will prefer to go on as an international state owned enterprise. Antigua and the other Pirate and Pepper Islands need LIAT because otherwise they are largely cut off from the outside world. They will liquidate the existing company and set up a new company with the same name etc. Under the umbrella of the legal system of Antigua of course, because there is no worker protection, no outspoken senator and there are no rebellious unions like in Barbados.

  16. @ Willy E Coyote

    You said and de ole man quotes

    “…ts time for ALL TOURIST dominated countries to remove the ROSE COLORED SUNGLASSES and do some self analysis and realistic planning for the future survival with significantly reduced INCOME and HIGH DEBT levels…”

    One thing about you Mr. Coyote you are consistent in your message.

    It is amazing how these people are talking bout all these tourism strategies and not one of them has realistically addressing what Travelling spoke to

    Travelling says and de ole man quotes “… In Canada it takes up to 5 days to get the results of a Covid test. In the USA it is up to 10 days to get results…”

    What does that mean Mr. Coyote? it means a possible reinfection period of 48 hours in Canada and 168 hours in the United States.

    Who is the issuer of the antigen test?

    Let me mek this simple observation. There are close to 500,000 medical malpractice suits every year (dem say 440,000 by I, Piece de prophet round off de number)

    So who going reconcile parties that are authorized to issue veritable antigen barcodes?

    It is as if dese men got on blinkers even in the face of 500,000 deaths and 10 million cases dem realise that they are playing a game with people’s lives and are proud of it!

  17. @Tron

    I did not say investor. I said it would be bought out of administration, somewhat different. The intangibles will be worth something. The planes they can get off the shelf from Boeing, the Brazilians or Chinese. In the Arizona desert there are scores of planes not working. After CoVid there will be more.
    There MUST be an airline in the Caribbean. Afterall, with 7000 islands, and to be a really effective region, there must be a proper commercial and leisure connection. What we need is an airline ferry – cheap, no frills, competent and safe.

  18. The author acknowledges,
    “… North America accounts for around 12 million of departing cruise ship passengers annually. This despite the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of ships which ply the Caribbean Sea are not registered under the US flag, therefore not subject to US employment laws, covering among many others things, minimum wages and labour laws. As an example, industry brand giants Royal Caribbean’s corporate domicile is in Liberia and Carnival’s, Panama, despite being headquartered in the United States.”

    But then obliviously wonders,
    Barbados has done an extraordinary job of permitting dozens of cruise ships to anchor-off our shores eventually discharging thousands of crew members before allowing them to fly home, when other islands and some mainland ports have denied that dispensation and compassion. Will those humanitarian concessions be taken in to account when cruise ship itineraries are being scheduled and marketed for late 2020 and 2021

    The answer should be self-evident. This hope that Barbados’ act of goodwill would be reciprocated is quaint, almost naive.
    The cruise ship industry is notoriously self interested. Barbados will only benefit if the cruise industry has something to gain.

  19. Search on for LIAT filler

    Folding airline facing millions in payouts


    LIAT WILL BE WRAPPED UP urgently but what will follow after the regional airline folds is still uncertain, says Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the incoming CARICOM chairman.

    Yesterday, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines confirmed to the DAILY NATION the pending liquidation of the airline under the laws of Antigua and Barbuda, where it is headquartered, following a meeting he called on Saturday morning.

    His next move, he said, was scouting for other airlines within the Caribbean to fill the breach left by the 46-year-old carrier.

    The regionally-owned LIAT, in which Barbados holds the majority shares, has been a sentimental favourite especially among island hoppers. In the past it has been decried for its late departures or sudden cancellations, or hailed in times of disaster for its humanitarian flights. Through it all, it remained plagued with financial woes.

    Gonsalves is hoping a CARICOM meeting can take place this evening to discuss regional air transportation.

    Severance payment

    “Resources are going to be needed for pre-liquidation costs and then you have to get a report. The debt which LIAT has, and then, very importantly from a human public relations standpoint, not only the debt for the big people but also the smaller ones and that is the severance payment due.”

    He added: “LIAT has minimal assets to satisfy the most minimal of claims which will be done under the requisite insolvency law in Antigua. You have priority as to who is to come first, second, third. LIAT doesn’t have any money to meet the first priority, much less to when you go down the line to pay severance.

    “That’s the rough story. My immediate interest and what is immediately important is to use the existing resources which you have around, [like] airlines that operatebetween St Vincent and Barbados and the othercommunities. Those that are here and we can utilise to move people across the Caribbean. Those which are within, more or less, our control within this

    part of the world,” Gonsalves said.

    Meanwhile, based on the workers’ collective agreement, LIAT faces about an EC$83.9 million severance payout, EC$10 million for vacation balances, EC$10 million in paid bookings, along with immediate pre-liquidation costs of overdue payroll liabilities, maintenance for the aircraft, insurance, the cost of repatriating some staff members, rental of office equipment and utilities.

    “I haven’t got the report yet but there will be a much larger sum of money owed to commercial banks, to suppliers of goods and services . . . . LIAT doesn’t have money to cover these things because the three planes which you normally talk about LIAT owning, those are the Caribbean Development Bank’s which has a priority charge on those so they can’t be in the mix,” said Gonsalves.

    Severance for the 372 workers in Antigua amounts to EC$61.6 million; for the 93 workers in Barbados, EC$15.1 million; for the 45 workers in Grenada, EC$2.5 million; for the 37 in St Lucia, EC$1.3 million; for the 41 workers in St Vincent EC$1.5 million; EC$500 000 for Dominica’s 30 workers, while there are a small number of employees in Trinidad, Martinique, Guyana, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico.

    The workers’ pension funds, as of 2009, have been held in escrow and do not form part of LIAT’s money, so that was there for the workers, Gonsalves explained. In 2009, LIAT withdrew its pension funds

    from CLICO after the financial crisis of its parent company CL Financial.

    Gonsalves was scheduled to meet with One Caribbean airline, based in St Vincent, last evening and with SVG Air today after considering how they operated during the COVID-19 shutdown flying students and other Caribbean nationals back home in the region. Another consideration was an airline out of Turks & Caicos.

    “Beyond that, we have to see what new entity will come into being. I am not so hung up on where airlines are located. I’m not hung up on the name of LIAT because I don’t know if that will have certain costs attached to it, the brand. We’re in a difficult situation and it is challenging,” he said.

    Attending Saturday’s meeting were the major shareholders Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, along with LIAT chairman, former Prime Minister of Barbados Professor Owen Arthur.

    The major focus was the finances of LIAT and the liquidation. There is to be a zoom meeting of the ordinary shareholders as required for the dissolution following an amendment to the internal regulation which stipulates a face-to-face meeting.

    Source: Nation Newspaper

  20. Browne: HQ should still be Antigua

    ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA Prime Minister Gaston Browne does not want to see any squabble among Caribbean islands over the where the headquarters of the new airline to replace LIAT will be located.

    Speaking after the announcement that the regional carrier would be liquidated and replaced by a new entity, Browne said he hoped there would be no fighting to oust Antigua and Barbuda as the headquarters. “What I’m hoping that we do not have going forward with the new entity is any squabble over the location of the headquarters.

    “At the end of the day, the only service that Antigua and Barbuda has enjoyed . . . within CARICOM is LIAT and this has been the case for several decades,” he told an Antigua radio station.

    “So I just hope that we are not going to have countries within the region opportunistically fighting us to get the headquarters in their country to displace Antigua and Barbuda,” he said, while adding the formation of the new airline must be done swiftly.

    Browne said that back in 1974 when LIAT collapsed, his understanding was that it took a day to start the operation of a new entity.

    He added it would take longer on this occasion, given there were several stakeholders to satisfy, including creditors.

    According to the prime minister, LIAT did not have sufficient assets to satisfy the requirements or claims of most of its creditors, including the airline’s employees.

    “LIAT only owns three planes and those planes are charged to the Caribbean Development Bank, so clearly they have a superior claim,” Browne said.

    “After they would have covered their claim, there will be hardly any assets available to liquidate severance and other liabilities to staff and other creditors, so there has to be a negotiated position.”

    Concerning the fate of employees, he said the governments “won’t be bandits and just walk away from the staff”.

    “They will have to pay some form of compassionate payments to assist them. But they have to understand that they are legally vulnerable and that they have to look at the bigger picture and to cooperate, not to become litigious and to prevent the creation of a new LIAT,”

    he said. Browne added there would be major job cuts.

    “Let’s face it, it’s going to be a right-sized entity. You are going to have significant job losses; there’s no doubt about it. Hundreds of people are going to lose their work; it is inescapable.

    “But if you are going to have a new entity that is scaled down, that is viable, that is efficient, that can meet the connectivity needs of the Caribbean people, then clearly that has to be the option that we pursue.”

    He also said the new entity would retain the name LIAT.“We should not be running away from the name LIAT. LIAT is a Caribbean institution built by Caribbean people, of which we should be proud. “Many institutions in the United States in the aviation industry, including American Airlines, they have gone belly-up many times over. They never discontinued the name American Airlines. Americans are proud to support the name American Airlines, but whereas they have their Chapter 11 protection, we don’t have that in our laws,” Browne said.


  21. Pressed for time

    I did not mean LIAT AS is now with so much debt

    I meant the goverments should fund the new LIAT/ company for five years ………

  22. The cruise sector when it returns in whatever form, will be nothing like we knew it. Right now they are boats for sale like hired cars in Barbados. Lets however look at just one cruise company to understand where the sector is financially.

    Royal Caribbean has a 52 week high share value of $135.32 USD. All that means is sometime in the last year a share of the companies stock was worth that value. As of 2.32pm today that same stock was trading at $49.71 a share! Stop and think on that one fact. So in a few months it is worth 33% of what it was over the last year. So next question is whats its future with many of its ship sailing out of Florida? The same florida setting new records for covid infections daily.

    So with a bleak future Royal goes to Trump for help and Trump says “dont worry i have a great plan best plan in the world. We will help you out but you must leave from Miami go to Puerto Rico and return via the US Virgin Islands. If you do that we will subsidize each passenger so they only pay $199 for the cruise. Great plan its amazing.”

    So the cruise ships take the deal, Trump forks out the money and the U.S territories benefit from the cruise traffic. Thats just one possible scenario. For all of you that think this cant happen, ask yourself who else will bail the industry out and why?

  23. @ David June 29, 2020 2:21 PM

    ‘Whoever will be paying the new airline piper will be calling the HQ tune’.

    Is the PM Browne government putting up the most capital in the proposed new airline?

    What would be the name of this reincarnated airline? Air Covid 2020?

    We told you earlier that the mandate given to Owen Arthur for LIAT was that of an Undertaker.

    He has performed admirably in embalming that financial cadaver.

    We shall soon seen if the likes of Maloney are real captains of industry or mere parasites sucking at the sore nipples of the Covid-affected taxpayers.

  24. LIAT 2020 Caribbean Limited

    Same shareholders or a few new ones maybe, but same old story. Promises of a new lean business structure bla bla bla.

  25. The cruise ship industry will never be the same for years to come. People have been reminded of all the illness on board over the years, the food poisoning. The COVID 19 virus, passengers stuck on ships for up to 3 months, pandemic on board. Crew ill, passengers ill. The cruising public will never believe that disease is not lurking somewhere onboard still.

    As for LIAT the directors past and present have been trading LIAT whilst knowing it was insolvent and are therefore personally responsible for the losses. The shareholders knew about that and encouraged and ordered the directors to continue trading. Therefore the shareholders are also responsible for the losses. This is not a simple matter of bankruptcy this is a very clear cut evidenced and easily proven matter of trading by all the directors and principals whilst insolvent there are laws governing such action and behavior. I suggest the creditors split into groups and sue the Directors and Chairman, past and present because the company has been insolvent for years. Join in the action the shareholders because they should have pulled the plug but encouraged it to continue.

  26. @ Hal

    A better question would be when last have audited financials been presented to the board and shareholders?

  27. “The blogmaster understands if you do not take the test before travelling to Barbados, there is a $150US one has to pay on arrival ”

    Here is what Travelling understands. After the test you have to go to a hotel of the Government choice which you have to pay for yourself while you wait for the results of the the test . Travelling understands a test result can take up to 5 days in Barbados.

    The Minister said….
    To this end, they have identified four hotels as possible satellite testing facilities where tourists will be able to stay at their own expense, get testing done and spend time on property awaiting results.”

    Too much uncertainty. Very unlikely that anyone from Canada or the USA will be able to get a test and certificate within 72 hours of arrival.

  28. Good riddance. Was White Oaks working on this too? Lots of downside to IMF, but one plus, is they will have Bdos in handcuffs re any new ‘investment’. And discharging liabilities to the legal law, not the political law.
    The GoB is well advised to stay clear of airlines. If one wishes to contract an existing carrier to handle certain routes flown by List, that is fine. But no more of being on the hook. We need no more proof, Cari governments CANNOT run an airline.

  29. @ Hal

    From what i understand LIAT has been running on in-house unaudited financials for years. As a result there is no audited confirmation for their assets, receivables or payables. I would love to hear when their last audited financials were presented to the board and shareholders. Yet these said shareholders continued to pump millions of tax payers dollars into this entity, year after year without demanding audited financials by any given deadline.

    All them want a good “blistering” as we say here!

  30. @Hal

    “Who audited LIAT’s annual accounts?”

    What makes you think LIAT has/had audited accounts, heee, heee, you might also be advised the tooth fairy and Santa Claus are myths also. Liquidate/Bankrupt means there is no Severance, no vacation pay, nothing those owed are SHIT OUT OF LUCK as they say. Legal action by those owed will be DEAD before the Caribbean legal system gets around to hearing any such case, ir CLICO.

  31. @JohnA
    Blistering? Isn’t that how most GoB entities have been run for years? I cannot speak for the other shareholder governments.

  32. @ John A

    They they have traded with other businesses, including leased planes, so due diligence must have been done by these foreign firms. How then did LIAT get a thumbs up? Governments must have stepped in to underwrite any liability, or they lied, or the foreign firms were incompetent? Which?
    But there is also an ethical issue. If shareholder governments participate in running an insolvent company, how then can they prosecute firms trading in their jurisdictions for trading while insolvent?
    Do we need further evidence of failed states?

  33. @ALL

    Our airline is history. OSA, our wannabe world economist, is also history. LIAT is dead.

    The rum shop cannot simply be wound up and restarted under the same name without the new companies being liable for old debts. At some point, however, the suffering of the Pepper and Pirate Islands becomes so great that they have to raise money for a completely new company. The question remains as to who will then operate the routes to Trixidad and Guyana.

  34. @ John A

    Apparently, at last Saturday’s meeting, heads of the shareholder governments received a report from the management and board of directors concerning LIAT’s financial position.

    It seems as though the board of directors used the report as a basis for recommending dissolution of the company.

  35. @Tron
    Why would one wish to use LIAT. Is SVG, Dominica or Barbados a “leeward island”? I think anything new should be called Cariways, cause for sure you there will nuff ‘ carrying away’ going on.

  36. @ Travelling June 29, 2020 6:05 PM

    The COVID19 protocol is absolutely ridiculous. It will limit the summer and winter season to a maximum of 1000 tourists. Why should tourists pay for a COVID19 test plus four days in a concentration camp? That alone is at least 2000 BBD.

    Either our government pays for the tests and does not imprison the tourists or tourism is dead. Without tourists, we’re 100% dead. With tourists, 1% at most. The math is as simple as that.

  37. @ David June 29, 2020 2:15 PM

    Question for you personally: Does this also apply to locals living on the island? Do they also have to pay a totally overpriced hotel for 4 days if they can’t do a test in advance?

  38. FYI

    Dr. Robert J. Rowen (M.D.)
    June 27 at 3:31 AM ·

    Bad and Good News about Covid

    First, the bad. Below you will see a report where scientists are now reporting that COVID-19 is a systemic disease, not the primarily lung disease first thought. It appears that a COVID infection can lead to lingering effects for years to come, since the virus will attack many organs and tissues. However, as you know, most of those infected do very well.

    Now, for exciting news. The outstanding work of a colleague, David Brownstein, MD, has led to us collaborating on a paper that has just been accepted in a peer review journal. It went through THREE reviewers. It should be available for pre-print viewing in a few weeks. In this work, a large number of symptomatic COVID test positive, or meeting CDC criteria patients were treated with nutritional therapy as a base. Things you’ve read about here and on my website (His website is: drrowendrsu(DOT)com /GM) were thrown into the mix, including nebulized hydrogen peroxide and injections of ozone! Over 100 patients, no deaths, only one patient needing hospitalization after treatment commencement.

    I am excited that a very simple protocol did so well. Of course, nothing is patentable, so you can be sure industry will not work on this. And though it is so promising to ending the fear of the crisis, I don’t think you will see your Pharma owned and bought out Rulers to pick up on it soon. (My emphasis /GM) There is a mad rush to vaccine thanks to self anointed disease maintenance czar Bill Gates. But suppose there was a dirt-cheap approach to this disease that falls outside the realm of pHARMa?

    I will give you the details of this work as soon as I am permitted. I am very hopeful that this approach will also mitigate long term sequela of the disease. (FYI sequela = long term, negative health effects of an injury or disease after initial recovery. /GM) Though our work with Ebola netted us only 5 patients, none had post Ebola complications compared to about 70% of survivors. I do expect the same here, and I was also informed of very favorable results in Sierra Leone using ozone to treat post Ebola complications. I suspect we will see that with COVID as well if we are given the chance to serve the survivors with oxidation therapy.

    Continued at:

  39. @ Artax

    The question is was the document in question prepared by LIAT internally for the board, or was it a document prepared by an independent audit company for the board? Also without audited financials what were the figures in the presentation
    based on?

  40. @ Hal

    I would bet the liabilities of LIAT were guaranteed by the shareholding governments. That way the lenders would of felt safer with the risks being spread across a group of sovereign governments. No different to the directors having to cover the liabilities that the assets of a company cant cover. It would be interesting to see if the liabilities were spread based on shareholding or if a few got a free ride.

  41. There’s another airline serving the Caribbean grinning like a Cheshire Cat and waiting to swoop down and fill the void. A friend of mine flew to Antigua from Barbados last year but his flight was via Trinidad. It is called Caribbean Airways and it knows that a reimaged LIAT is not going to get off the ground.

  42. You also got to remember Air Antilles out of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Already flying into nuff of these islands and connecting with Paris flights.

  43. @ John A.

    It won’t be the (Don)
    signing that executive order to bailout the US base cruise ship companies. His ship is sinking. He has his LAST 5 MONTHS IN OFFICE. If Biden signs, expect Herculean stipulations.

  44. @ NorthernObserver

    I agree …… why would one wish to use “LIAT?”

    Successive Antigua & Barbuda governments….. and Antiguans in general, seem to believe they own LIAT and have some special entitlement to benefit from it. Perhaps Gaston Browne wanting to maintain the name “LIAT,” was prompted by feelings of nostalgia….. that ANU has some sentimental attachment to the airline.

    But, ‘then again,’ ANU is the departure transit hub for islands such as St. Kitts & Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, BVI, USVI, St. Maarten and Puerto Rico.

    Additionally, over the years, ANU has rejected all operational and management proposals to improve the airline’s operational efficiency. For example, in 2013, former PM, Lester Bird, rejected SVG PM Gonsalves’ suggestion LIAT should be scrapped and replaced with a new airline. And, in 2016, Gaston Browne rejected a proposal that moving LIAT’s headquarters to Barbados would be financially beneficial to the airline.

    ANU always make unilateral decisions relative to LIAT. Recall when then PM of ANU, Baldwin Spencer, was at the forefront of facilitating the merger between LIAT and the Stanford owned “Caribbean Star,” which was finalized on June 15, 2007? The merger was to operate under the name “LIAT – Star of the Caribbean.” At that time, LIAT was seeking financing from the CDB and ‘Sanford Financial Group’ provided the airline with a ‘bridge loan’ of $25M, until the CDB loan was approved.

    Remember Browne negotiating with Virgin Atlantic’s Sir Richard Branson about investing in LIAT? How about in October, 2019, when he negotiated a US$15.8M from the Venezuelan Banco del ALBA, to facilitate acquiring additional shares in the airline?

    Interestingly, a condition of the ALBA loan was to reduce LIAT’s operational expenses, including salaries and wages..

    Unfortunately, when LIAT is eventually liquidated, Antiguan taxpayers remain ‘saddled’ with a 10 year debt, at 6% per annum and an annual repayment of US$2M.

  45. @Artax
    Thank you for the concise history.
    The finger pointing is sure to warm over the forthcoming months.

  46. @ John A

    Whatever the outcome, the Barbadian taxpayer is going to be a loser. My suggestion for resolving the mess is to sell the existing company for a dollar (US$?), along with all liabilities, assets and other obligations.
    Has Arthur anything to say about the state of LIAT? Has the minister of finance anything to say about the state of LIAT? Has our minister of foreign affairs anything to say about the state of LIAT? Does BHTA anything to say about the state of LIAT? Why the silence?

  47. Fly One ready to take LIAT’s place

    by COLVILLE MOUNSEY MANAGING DIRECTOR of Fly One Caribbean, Reginald Adams, says his company stands ready to fill the void left by the soon to be folded regional carrier LIAT.

    Adams told the DAILY NATIONyesterday that with the airline’s hub already established in Barbados, the Vincentian-owned company was ready to roll out service to most of the southern Caribbean as well as one or two islands in the north.

    “We have three airplanes, two 30-seaters and a 19-seater, and it would take us about three weeks or so to add another two airplanes. So, within a six-week period we can be up to a fleet of five planes, which I believe would be sufficient to serve the south Caribbean and one or two routes in the north. So yes, we can cover some of it immediately and in a short period of time. Right now we can cover from Trinidad to Dominica and one or two flights beyond that,” said Adams.

    “One Caribbean’s operational base is already in Barbados, but we also have offices in St Vincent. So absolutely Barbados will be the airport that we hub out of while we maintain services in other islands.”

    Short-term solutions

    Over the weekend, chairman of LIAT shareholder governments, St Vincent and Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves confirmed that the airline, which had been in existence since 1974, would wrap up operations, stressing the urgent need for an interim entity to maintain regional connectivity.

    Gonsalves touted Fly One Caribbean, SVG Air and a carrier from Turks and Caicos, as possible short-term solutions until a new official regional carrier was established.

    However, Adams made it clear that while he was happy to meet the short-term travel needs, he had his sights set on being part of the long-term solution for regional travel. He said his operational

    model differed from LIAT and was therefore convinced he could maintain “efficient and affordable” services to several routes.

    “We have a different model than LIAT and we want to be part of the long-term solution, but it is not going to be a case of us being able to serve every island, but we want to remain full-time for the slack that we can pick up.

    “As we speak, we are reaching out to different private entities in Dominica, Grenada and St Lucia. We already have an investor in Barbados, but we are looking at divesting ownership among the other islands privately. So, we will be able to expand services and become more regional but managed privately by investors in the region,” he explained.

    In terms of the cost of travel, Adams said he did not anticipate his fares to exceed the price of a basic ticket on LIAT, which was around US$120 from Barbados to St Vincent or to St Lucia.

    “I think it would be around the same for LIAT’s basic fares. We would not be on the tier where the fares get extremelyhigh. So, our fares would hover around US$120 and those are numbers that

    can work and be sustained.

    “They are not extremely cheap but extremely cheap cannot pay the bills. We plan to use fair fares that people can afford but at the same time be sustainable for the airline,” he added, while giving the assurance the airline was capable of meeting any protocols for COVID-19.

    “In the immediate future

    we are going to begin a service from Barbados to St Vincent, then to St Lucia and back to Barbados. This would give the travelling public a chance to wake themselves up and get the airports functioning. As the demand rises, we would spread our wings from Grenada to Barbados and then to Guyana. We would grow as the demand grows.”

    • Gonsalves to talk LIAT salaries, severance
      THE PAYMENT of outstanding salaries and severance to employees of LIAT will be placed on the front burner in discussions by the shareholder governments of the folding carrier.
      Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, chairman of the shareholder governments of the regional airline, which is going into liquidation, yesterday wrote staff a letter informing them of the disappointment over the company’s demise, but promising that their financial position would be looked into.
      “Both the board of directors and major shareholders agree that the airline cannot survive this crisis. A general meeting of all the shareholders and creditors will be called for the purpose of considering the closure of the airline.
      A most important priority of the airline is the staff. The payment of your outstanding salaries and severance will be urgently addressed in this process,” he wrote.
      In yesterday’s DAILY NATION, Gonsalves said that based on the workers’ collective agreement, LIAT was saddled with about EC$83.9 million for severance payouts, EC$10 million for vacation balances, EC$10 million in paid bookings, along with immediate pre-liquidation costs of overdue payroll liabilities, maintenance for the aircraft, insurance, the cost of repatriating some staff members, rental of office equipment and utilities.
      Giving a further breakdown, he revealed that severance: for 372 workers in Antigua would come to EC$61.6 million;
      for the 93 in Barbados,
      EC$15.1 million; EC$2.5 million for 45 staff in Grenada; EC$1.3 million for the 37 in St Lucia; EC$1.5 million for St Vincent’s 41 workers; and EC$500 000 for Dominica’s 30 staffers.
      There were also a small number of employees in Trinidad, Martinique, Guyana, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico that also had to receive theirs.
      The Vincentian leader said the shareholders understood the information about the airline’s pending closure was disappointing and an unfortunate result of circumstances, but the governments would ensure the process was “fairly and justly” undertaken.

      Source: Nation Newspaper

  48. @ Sargeant June 29, 2020 8:46 PM #:

    The reality with Caribbean Airlines is, flights to ALL Caribbean destinations must first go to Trinidad, where, in some cases passengers may be in transit for as long as 10 hours….. or they have to ‘overnight.’ And, although the TT government subsidises aviation fuel, the airfares are usually more expensive than LIAT’s.

    Also, whereas LIAT concentrates specifically on intra regional flights, CA provides both regional and international flights. So, to adequately fill the void left in the absence of LIAT and accommodate an increase in passengers as a result, CA may have to change its operations to provide a reliable and efficient service for the region.


    @ David

    Do you believe now is the best time for regional governments to ‘have a look’ at former LIAT pilot James Lynch’s business plan for establishing a new airline?

    • @Artax

      All options should be on the table. However it is difficult to see politicians allowing a ‘cean’ due diligence and evaluation exercise to take place given track record to date. All proposals should be reviewed by a committee of airline and business exports and the best selected based on predetermined criteria..

  49. I have two questions:

    LIAT is a private company. How long has it been insolvent? Is there a case of delayed filing for insolvency?

    If so, is OSA as so-called chairman personally liable?

  50. @ALL

    My question is still in the air whether the new COVID protocol will not reduce our tourism by 90 percent for the next 12 months.

  51. @Tron
    My question is still in the air whether the new COVID protocol will not reduce our tourism by 90 percent for the next 12 months.

    You were clamoring for The President to open the place. Now that is is open you are still unhappy.
    What do you suggest?

  52. @ Dullard June 30, 2020 12:57 PM

    We are setting up a special plague zone in Christ Church where people are allowed to enter without testing, but cannot visit the rest of the country. Plus some burning cars and barricades to make our guests from USA and UK feel at home.

  53. @ Tron June 30, 2020 12:19 PM
    “I have two questions:
    LIAT is a private company. How long has it been insolvent? Is there a case of delayed filing for insolvency?
    If so, is OSA as so-called chairman personally liable?”

    Come on Tron, my man!

    How can you blame a pathologist or the undertaker for the demise of a ‘person’, whether individual or corporate?

    A former caregiver, Capt. James Lynch, was warning you constantly of the pending demise of that terminally-ill financial leech propped up primarily by the massively-inflated egos of ‘West Indian politicians’ at taxpayers’ expense.

    Even at this stage of internment these politicians will be squabbling over the few tattered possessions (like the HQ) left by LIAT 1974 when most commercial entities are going ‘E-management’.

  54. @ Donna June 30, 2020 5:06 PM


    We are witnessing a new era. A reversal of all prejudices.

    China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, many African and Caribbean nations are managing the new plague far better than many so-called developed countries of the West, especially the USA, UK and Sweden. In the past, the narrative was that yellow, brown and black people were second class. Not anymore! Now many white nations are second or even third class.

    However, we should not triumph. Our main tourism markets (USA and UK) are at risk of being severely damaged for at least five years.

  55. @ Miller June 30, 2020 6:15 PM

    Of course no prosecutor will be found. There are far too many current and former heads of state involved.

    At best, private airline companies will take over the market. Where there is real demand, there will still be air travel. The small pepper and pirate islands will lose out because they do not generate enough passengers. However, that is not our problem.

  56. The situation in Antigua is already desperate. King Gaston is threatening to withdraw from CARICOM and OECS.

  57. Tron At best, private airline companies will take over the market.

    Well of course. As it should be. Why should the taxpayers be pumping money into a limp airline? Private enterprise should be running the short island hops, which these are. Without being flippant, any good pilot and his wife could run a charter inter-island. The wife to take bookings and manage the money, the husband to fly. Plus a mechanic.

    Too simplistic maybe, but really? For flights of an hour maximum????

    Stupse. A group of sensible businessmen can get a loan for three or four Dash 8’s and with a modern, cost effective digital app based booking system, flights should be cheaper and better than Leave Island Any Time.

    Admin part of the airline can be run out of an older converted three bedroom house close to Grantley Adams.

    The ONLY thing that governments should be doing is regulation i.e. checking that aircraft are properly and safely maintained, regularly, continually.

    And no, it is not to be a suckwell for politicians nephews and nieces and friends.

    People too like to complicate things.

  58. Of course, regional taxes on airline tickets are partly to blame for the LIAT disaster.

    Is Enuff still laughing at my justified reference to taxes?

  59. GAIA will not be able to open in the middle of the month. We have to account for the Caribbean laziness. The protocol has not yet been implemented at all (where to upload your data?) and flights are still shifted towards August and September. Until everything is definite, no one will spend money on a Wuhan test if the flight is cancelled afterwards.

    I estimate it will take at least another 3 to 6 months before we have significant air traffic again. In the meantime, the unemployment rate will rocket.

  60. Tron all the white countries are not handling covid19 as good as others, to be fair a lot of countries are not hampered by regulations ,laws or perhaps kindness. but your atement on class reminded me of a fell that was put in a jail cell with a monster guy. The big fella says were going to play house …do you want to be the mummy or the daddy…the little guy says the daddy ….the big fella says good…now come over here and suck mummys c?ck. You may think your the people who are your biggest tourist numbers are 3rd class now …but get a grip

  61. @ Commander Theophillus Gazerts

    De Prophet was also wondering what did Lawson do to get put in jail!

    And I grew concerned when he shared what that big fellow prisoner made him do, EVEN THOUGH HE HAD OPTED TO BE DADDY!


    De problem is that people in here see Tron de Jester effortlessly making jokes pun this blog.

    And dem want to try and end up talking bout sucking things


  62. Be prepared for an influx of potential Covid-19 tourists arriving from the UK very shortly. The Caribbean has done a good job, so far, in controlling the spread of Covid-19.

    “Travellers from 59 destinations will no longer have to quarantine for two weeks when they enter England, unless they have also been to countries not on the list.

    The full list of exempted destinations is:

    Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Réunion, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, South Korea, Spain, St Barthélemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Vatican City, Vietnam.” (Source: BBC)

  63. If Browne is so confident of the potential of LIAT (1974), then he is free to buy out the other shareholders. This is not a business proposal, it is a begging letter. LIAT is insolvent. It has failed.

  64. The problem is not LIAT, but the local governments, which still massively obstruct air traffic within CARICOM through Corona chicanery and excessive flight taxes. Airlines like One Caribbean or Caribbean Airlines can easily fill the gap at any time – provided there is sufficient deman for air traffic. We do not need a financial graveyard called LIAT for failed provincial politicians like OSA.

    Two years ago, the local establishment laughed at me about flight taxes. Once again a failure of the government advisors who still believe in their old Moscow doctrine of maximum taxation to punish economy instead of leaving the economy to the free people.

    We must finally free ourselves from the octopus called the deep welfare state with slavery-like paternalism of the people.

  65. @ David July 3, 2020 4:03 PM

    Everybody should read an interview with Bizzy: “Right now LIAT is the number one charity in Antigua. If you can’t get a job anywhere else you get one at LIAT no matter how nasty you treat the passengers you are assured of a job”.

  66. Antigua was not represented at yesterday’s special conference of CARICOM leaders where PM Mottley handed over the chairmanship to SVG PM Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

    Apparently, Gaston Browne was angry because heads of the shareholder governments made a decision to liquidate LIAT and that a SVG airline, registered in Barbados, is advertising flights to certain destinations at fares of US$99 plus taxes.

    He wrote on his Facebook page “There are some regional leaders who see our regional institution, carrier, LIAT, as a ‘predator’ and they are determined to keep their knees on its neck to prevent its regeneration. Their espoused values about regional integration, are in congruent with their insular actions,” he said, adding that “it is with a heavy heart that I add, if this insularity hidden in intellectual subterfuge is allowed to continue unabated, the CARICOM and OECS integration institutions shall wither and die.”

    It seems as though Browne wants to bully his regional counterparts into investing millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money into a failed airline, under the guise of facilitating regional integration, when, in actuality, he wants to keep Antiguans employed and Antigua to have full control of LIAT.

    It’s rather interesting that this man is talking about “insular actions,” when he and CWI bought Stanford’s ‘Sticky Wicket,’ so more cricket could be played in Antigua; forced UWI to open a campus there; and ‘went behind the backs’ of the other shareholder PMs to negotiate all types of selfish deals for LIAT.

  67. Gaston is like a man who wants to be selector, player and umpire. Based on the news reports he made a unilateral decision to announce LIAT’s insolvency, announce the formative terms for a new carrier based on the bones of LIAT and is now in a snit because the other PM’s haven’t kow towed to his demands.

    What next? Will he refuse landing rights to any carrier that seems to have the support (not financial) of the other Gov’ts?
    The other Gov’ts should tell Gaston he should take his bat and ball and go play with himself, there is no harm in calling someone’s bluff.

  68. LIAT is like the Caribbean public service. It is not about optimizing services, but only about enabling as many lazy natives as possible to live a carefree life. If I extrapolate the number of jobs to large American aviation companies, LIAT has a staff surplus of at least 75 percent.

    LIAT must die so that cheaper private airlines can take its place.

  69. LIAT is like the whole Caribbean public service. It is not about optimizing services, but only about enabling as many lazy natives as possible to live a carefree life. If I extrapolate the number of jobs to large American aviation companies, LIAT has a staff surplus of at least 75 percent.

    LIAT must die so that cheaper private airlines can take its place.

  70. British VIPs paying big bucks to jet in

    Wealthy British travellers will be forking out as much as $10 000 for a return ticket to Barbados on a VIP airline this summer.

    The UK charter broker Caledonia Jets is offering seats on board a massive Airbus A340 private jet which will be operating between London and Barbados.

    The first flight was originally scheduled to arrive here yesterday, but a source told the Sunday Sun it was postponed due to the cessation of commercial flights into the Grantley Adams International Airport because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced last week the airport would be reopening to commercial flights on July 12, the day when Barbados will see the return of Air Canada, followed by British Airways flights from Gatwick and Heathrow airports on July 18 and Jet Blue from New York on July 25.

    Open for bookings

    In a notice posted on its website last week, Caledonia Jets said: “Following the announcement by the Prime Minister of Barbados, we are open for bookings to Barbados from a private terminal at Stansted, London commencing 8th of July 2020.

    “We fully support the Government’s test before flying strategy and shall operate a thorough test, isolate and fly protocol to all passengers on board. Passengers can board in the knowledge that everyone has been issued with a negative PCR test certificate alongside their fellow passengers in an isolated environment. This goes beyond the requirements of the Government but as always, the safety of our passengers comes first.”

    Health status certification

    Protocols outlined by Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds state that visitorsarriving at Grantley Adams

    International Airport will be required to present Immigration officials with health status certification which has to be in their possession at least 72 hours before arrival.

    In compliance with this requirement therefore, before the British passengers can board the luxury jet for Barbados, they must submit to a COVID-19 test and self-isolate in a hotel overnight prior to the flight, at their expense.

    According to the Caledonia Jets website, the test ensures that travellers do not have to worry about fellow passengers potentially having the virus. It also serves to protect Barbadians against transmission of the coronavirus which the island has managed to contain.


    Source: Nation Newspaper

Leave a comment, join the discussion.