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Antigua tourism minister hits back at Sealy

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy is getting a rebuke of sorts from his Antiguan counterpart.


Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy

In fact, John Maginley says he wants to have a chat with Sealy over comments he made when referring to the Antigua economy and regional airline LIAT.

Earlier this week, Sealy said it was not fair to ask Barbados – LIAT’s largest shareholder – to shoulder most of the airline’s debt without the commensurate benefit.

But he stopped short of saying Barbados was trying to get the airline to move its headquarters to Bridgetown.

“I am very happy to hear that Prime Minister Spencer doesn’t have to lay off anybody in Antigua and he doesn’t plan to lay off anyone, but if he can make that brag, certainly we are not going to simply take all the burden for the entire Caribbean and not get some of the benefits,” Sealy told the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Civil Aviation Department. But Maginley has taken issue with Sealy’s statements, and has gone one step further to suggest that     the cash-strapped airline will not be relocating to Barbados.

“I am going to have to call him and we gone to have a chat because I don’t know why a member of government in Barbados is getting involved in our political issues at this time,” Maginley said at a public meeting of the ruling United Progressive Party   last night.

“But I will talk to him, but I want to assure all of you that LIAT is not leaving Antigua . . . . Further to that LIAT has now presented us with their hanger needs for the next 20 years.”

Maginley said the Antigua and Barbuda government had agreed to build a new hanger for the airline, to replace the one that was destroyed by fire in 2012.

He said the financing is in place and once the final drawings are in hand, the construction will move ahead.

The major shareholders of the cash-strapped airline are Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

5 Responses to Antigua tourism minister hits back at Sealy

  1. Edwards Swindley
    Edwards Swindley April 5, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Derogatory comments made by SEALY are designed to deflect from the real problems & solutions.

  2. Edwards Swindley
    Edwards Swindley April 5, 2014 at 6:45 am


  3. Ali Johannes
    Ali Johannes April 5, 2014 at 6:47 am

    better leave LIAT where it is! too much debt.

  4. Sanderson Rowe April 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Caribbean politics at its greatest. Years ago when most of LIAT’s operation was moved from Barbados to Antigua, placing many workers here on the breadline, there was not a peep of regret or sorrow from either of the Barbados or Antiguan politicians . Its a matter of White sand and grey sand allover,as (H.E) E.W. Barrow had predicted.

  5. David Hall April 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Though I am not a fan of the Minister of Tourism as I do not think he has yet succeeded in managing our tourism product with any of the remarkable success of his predecessor, Mr. Lynch, I find the Antiguan Tourism Minister John Maginley to be out of place. Minister Sealy was well within his right to question the sustainability of a plan in which Barbados was pumping millions of dollars in LIAT on a regular basis but not being adequately compensated in one way or another. Certainly I am not suggesting such and neither do I believe that our minister was suggesting that LIAT initiate moves to relocate all its bases to Barbados. Such decisions I feel must be both practical, as well as strategic and will ultimately have to be made by those with the necessary competence and relevant data to do so. Given his outburst I do feel however that such clear thinking excludes Mr. Maginley from this group since he seems to think that the reason why LIAT can’t move is because (LIAT has presented them (Antigua) with their hanger needs for the next 20 years and in accordance with those needs they have consented to build a hanger) What utter nonsense! Oh that the gentleman would come to his senses and realize that if Barbados was not keeping LIAT afloat they would not be any need for a hanger. Furthermore there is a real possibility that LIAT may not be around in the next 20 years in this form or any form if we don’t stop bleeding cash; consequently, if relocation from Antigua is a possible option then that too must be a consideration. On a whole I believe Mr. Sealy’s comments were very fair, He said: “I am very happy to hear that Prime Minister Spencer doesn’t have to lay off anybody in Antigua and he doesn’t plan to lay off anyone, but if he can make that brag, certainly we are not going to simply take all the burden for the entire Caribbean and not get some of the benefits,”.
    He was not asking for all the benefits nor the majority but just some. How does Maginley consider that involvement in their country political affairs? No one has any quarrel with the fact that his government is claiming that it has not laid-off anyone in a bid to be reelected. Such claims are ok. BUT what is also true is that when it comes to the LIAT scenario to which such a claim extends, Barbados and not Antigua has to take credit for that, and that makes Mr. Sealy’s statement both valid and acceptable. If Mr. Maginley or any of his colleagues does not want people to comment on the veracity of claims they are making then they should exclude any inferences which point to LIAT altogether or seek to clarify their assertions. I therefore backing Minister Sealy 100% on this one.


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