Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves yesterday publicly disagreed with his Grenadian counterpart Dr. Keith Mitchell on the financial problems facing regional airline LIAT and the “politics” behind some of its decisions, while again appealing to regional governments to invest in the Antigua-based carrier.
Dr. Gonsalves, who is chairman of LIAT’s shareholder governments, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that he was disappointed with Mitchell’s statement at the opening of the CARICOM summit in Grenada.
“I think Prime Minister Mitchell’s speech (on Tuesday) night was unfortunate,” he said. “Of course we disagree on LIAT, but to say that the decisions which are made in relation to LIAT at the board level are political, he just doesn’t get.”
Speaking during the ceremonial opening of the summit, Prime Minister Mitchell, the incoming CARICOM chairman, said transportation remained the lifeblood of regional integration.
He told the heads that he is of the belief that political presence on the board of airlines, such as LIAT, is not helpful to its proper management and efficiency.
“LIAT’s sustainability would have benefitted if it was run more as a private sector company. Governments could then subsidise flights to given destinations or routes that are in the best interest of their respective countries,” he said.