Grenada Government to Make Contribution to Cash-Strapped LIAT

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Thursday March 7, 2019 – The Grenada Government says it intends to
make a cash contribution to the financially struggling regional airline LIAT by
the end of this month.

Minister
of Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Affairs
Oliver Joseph said the decision was made by Cabinet this week, and comes against
the backdrop of agreement by CARICOM Heads of Government at their recent
inter-sessional meeting that the Antigua-based airline should be restructured.

The
decision also followed a report from Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister
Gaston Brown last weekend that approaches would be made to the governments of
Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and Guyana, which benefit from the carrier,
to become shareholders.

LIAT
is majority owned by several Caribbean governments, with Barbados, Antigua and
Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica being the largest shareholders,
owning 97.4 per cent of the airline. Private shareholders and employees hold
the remaining shares.

Minister of Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and CARICOM Affairs Oliver Joseph

“For
Grenada, we have always maintained that we would like to see LIAT continue to
serve the people of the region, but in order for us to contribute state
resources to LIAT, the airline must be restructured and operated in a manner
that ensures sustainability,” Minister Joseph said.

The
value of the Government’s contribution is yet to be determined as the Dr Keith
Mitchell-led administration is awaiting information from the regional airline.

“The
amount of money that we will contribute will be based on the information
submitted to us by the LIAT Board, which we hope to receive very shortly, so
that by the end of the month, we can make a cash contribution,” Joseph said.

In
addition to the cash payment this month, the Government is also willing to pay
LIAT additional funds based on load factor.

“If,
for example, LIAT is operating a flight between Trinidad and Grenada that is
unprofitable, Government will pay to ensure that the airline breaks even on
that particular route,” Joseph explained.

The
Grenada Government said it is hopeful that going forward there will be a
financial turnaround for LIAT.

“If you’re operating a business, you have to ensure that it is sustainable over the long run. We have to ensure sound financial management and reporting from the LIAT Board,” Joseph said, adding that Grenada’s position is that there should be no political interference in the management of the airline.

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