Dominica’s decision to invest in LIAT an ‘excellent decision’

first_img Share Sharing is caring! Tweet Share LocalNews Dominica’s decision to invest in LIAT an ‘excellent decision’ by: – June 20, 2012center_img 32 Views   no discussions Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. Photo credit: Caribbean News NowPrime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has described Dominica’s decision to invest $8 million into cash strapped regional airline LIAT as an “excellent decision”.Dominica’s leader, Roosevelt Skerrit, announced in December of 2011 that his government had taken a decision to invest into the airline for various reasons.Chief among them was to avoid subsidizing or paying for empty seats on the airline and the best way towards implementing its tourism strategic plan.At the time of this announcement in 2011, he noted that the arrangement was being finalized and would have taken effect in 2012.However, a recent fire which destroyed two office blocks, an aircraft hangar and an aircraft at the VC Bird International Airport on June 10, which is likely to cost the airline approximately EC$35 million according to LIAT’s manager for corporation communications Desmond Brown, may have accelerated the move.Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer announced at the weekend that Dominica’s leader gave a commitment to provide half of the $8 million equity contribution to LIAT this week.This has caused a stir among the main Opposition party in Dominica, the United Workers Party (UWP). UWP Leader, Eddison James urged Prime Minister Skerrit to disclose whether the “$8 million is an investment for shares in LIAT or whether it is a contribution in the context of loss which LIAT has suffered,” noting that this had not been the “subject” of discussion locally.LIAT”s inagural night landing flight to Dominica. Photo credit: GIS NewsPrime Minister Gonsalves told the Next Level Radio program on Tuesday evening that it is a good decision by Dominica’s leader and he has never had one moment of regret for his decision to invest in the airline years ago.According to him, LIAT provides an essential service in terms of travel for the Caribbean region which is “indispensible”.“It’s an excellent decision…Dominica does not have an international airport; Dominica has now lengthened its airport at Melville Hall and they have night landing, Dominica has increased its hotel rooms… so you have to build your services. If you’re building your services you need more air transport”. He explained further that it is “absolutely” the correct time for Dominica to purchase equity into the airline as LIAT has been engaged in discussion for expansion.“So he wants to sit at the table to make sure that Dominica is properly served by LIAT and he wants to be there in the discussion for the fleet renewal and the fleet expansion”.Gonsalves explained that the decision to invest into the airline should not be viewed as an abandonment of agriculture.“While we still have a role for bananas and a role for agriculture we have to build on the services especially tourism services. Dominica is similar to Saint Vincent in that it is an agricultural country which is moving into the services. So it’s not a question that you are putting the money into LIAT and you’re not putting any money into bananas”. He stated that it is a question of a leader looking at “the whole economy and you have to look at areas where you are growing too like in tourism and services and you have to put money into it”.Meanwhile, Prime Minister Skerrit told the Next Level Radio program on Tuesday evening, while he is aware of the challenges which the airline is faced with, he “remains resolute” in his decision, as it is “to ensure that Dominica’s interest is protected”. Dominica Vibes News Sharelast_img read more