Out of order

Inniss says Browne’s comments could damage regional integration

Outspoken Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss has told Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne to “take a breath” and have a “sober” conversation with his regional counterparts about LIAT, instead of making “undiplomatic and outlandish statements”.

His comments in an interview with Barbados TODAY follow Browne describing as “treason”, a reported plan to replace the Antigua-based LIAT with a Barbados-owned carrier.

It was at the end of last month that reports began circulating that a proposal had been put to Barbados, the major LIAT shareholder, to establish an airline. Browne’s reaction was swift, as he said such a move was not “in the spirit of good relations” and warned that he would be seeking the resignation of LIAT’s chief executive officer David Evans if he was the one who spearheaded the plan.

However, Inniss blasted Browne, whose government is one of four LIAT shareholders, saying his comments were “very strong” and could be considered “very damaging to regional integration”.

Donville Inniss
Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss

“As a Prime Minister you don’t accuse your colleagues of other countries of acting in a manner that can be considered to be treason; you come to the table and sit and discuss these issues,” he said.

“I think Prime Minister Gaston Browne would be well advised to take a deep breath, pick up the phone and call Prime Minister [Ralph] Gonsalves, Prime Minister [Freundel] Stuart and Prime Minister [Roosevelt] Skerrit and have a very sober and reasoned discussion about LIAT and the future of LIAT,” he added, referring to the leaders of shareholder governments St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Dominica.

Addressing the decision made at a meeting of shareholders in Barbados to move the bulk of the airline’s operations to Barbados – a move Browne is also resisting – Inniss said “Antigua was duly represented” at the meeting by its minister responsible for aviation Robin Yearwood and the decision was “very fair, balanced and reasonable”.

“So my advice to my friend Gaston Browne is ‘don’t make such undiplomatic and outlandish statements to your fellow Prime Ministers’,” he said.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne

Describing LIAT’s current structure as unsustainable and “a burden to taxpayers”, Inniss said that as a minister who had to deal with “constant complaints” from businesspeople in Barbados regarding LIAT when it came to the movement of goods and people around the region, he agreed with any plans to restructure the airline.

However, he declined to comment on the reported move to establish a Barbadian airline.

“I don’t know if it is true or not,” he said.

Inniss directed Barbados TODAY to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy but efforts to reach either were unsuccessful.

When asked whether he would support a Barbadian airline, Inniss said: “Whatever decision my Prime Minister and colleague of International Transport take you can rest assured that they will have my support.”

But Inniss insisted that was not the matter at hand.

“The issue here is that Antiguans, like Barbadians, need to accept that LIAT as currently structured and operating cannot continue,” the minister said.

Businessmen Robert Pitcher and Ralph Bizzy Williams have both poured cold water on the idea of Barbados setting up its own airline.


17 Responses to Out of order

  1. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce April 14, 2015 at 3:31 am

    Ah! Freedom of speech.

  2. Alex Alleyne April 14, 2015 at 5:56 am

    Now this is one BAJAN with GUTS. Let’s get LIAT back on track and making money instead of trying to clean out the flying public pockets . We all know it cost too much to Island hop taking LIAT , so if it is time to bring it back to BIM in order for things to be “sober” then do so in a hurry .

  3. Tony Webster April 14, 2015 at 6:12 am

    BIM to set-up and run we own ‘t’ing? Or just Smoke and Mirrors? Or mood-music to usher-in a whole twelve days (sorry, months) of a Big 50th Mother-Of-All-Fetes?

    Before the Festival Of Fifty, a Letter I would write she
    “Sorry lady , t’is time we part from thee”
    And a mighty party there shall be
    “On the first month of Fifty, a republic wud be nifty”.
    “On the second month of Fifty, a Knighthood I wud gift he”
    Froon The First, The Last, and De Best
    To a mighty thumping of his noble breast
    On the third month of Fifty, there was joy of all the rest
    Evabody got goodies from Chris’ Fete-Chest
    Tax-ease an’ tax-freeze, whate evah yuh please
    While dis consumer yet prayin’ pun ‘e knees
    And who could raise a protesting voice
    Against such a noble choice?
    Nary a mee, a AH, or a meow, from those who oppose
    Forward Bim, Backward never
    Yuh t’ink we aint got folks who clever?
    Evah man-jack wud join de merry band
    You onderstand?

    Not Quite-Easily-Done: , let Lowdown finish the epic effort.

  4. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock April 14, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Barbados, would be looking for real trouble, financial troubles trying to run liat it’s a not feasible.

  5. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock April 14, 2015 at 7:28 am

    It’s like a shirt I bought in London, brand name A bad idea jeans.

  6. Walter Prescod April 14, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Well said Mr. Inniss, words well used.

    • Bajan April 14, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      It doesn’t take an Einstein to see that he is a bajan with guts..one would think that if a matter is to be discussed at Prime Ministerial level Mr. Stuart would be the one speaking…He is really trying hard for recognition and a reputation along the way., they should all stay silent and call an election….so many people out there according to them knocking on their doors to do business in Barbados and before he tries to provide a less cumbersome and out dated business envioroment he continues to run his mouth like he is suffering from diahorrea from both ends….their silence and do nothing that has killed our country is the business model they should continue practising..

  7. MariaMaria Angel
    MariaMaria Angel April 14, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Big stuspe

  8. jr smith April 14, 2015 at 11:16 am

    The best thing for LIAT is to be privatize. very few businesses with government involvement is known to be successful.

  9. jr smith April 14, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Politicians in the Caribbean , cannot help misbehaving , by throwing they toys out the prams.

  10. Tony Waterman April 14, 2015 at 11:27 am

    @Alex Alleyne!!!!! so you think that speaking to one of your Regional Counterparts in that UNDIPLOMATIC and CONDESENDING way makes him “”one BAJAN with GUTS”” ?? and you have not yet figured out why we (Bajans) are DISLIKED by EVERYONE else in the Caribbean Basin, the SAD part of it is that we are giving them ammunition to dislike us, by having people like Donville Inniss representing us, Prime Minister Brown should realise that he is just another LOW Islander. I was not aware that after so many years of Meetings, Summits, and Declarations, that Caricom was so Fragile, that calling the moving of LIAT from Antigua to Barbados TREASON could be considered to be “undiplomatic and outlandish” i myself would call it SUICIDAL Just wait till we become this hurried Republic, Free Speech DONE.

  11. Pauline Forte
    Pauline Forte April 14, 2015 at 11:39 am

    His response is just as undiplomatic.

  12. Claire Battershield
    Claire Battershield April 14, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Who is she speaking to like that ?The same way he is carrying on with Bajans he is doing like everyone will take his crap with a grain of salt . No manners , no behavior , no tact .

  13. Augustine R Ferdinand
    Augustine R Ferdinand April 14, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Well Said MP Inniss. He’s really out of order and his comments are undiplomatic and also does not say much for regionalism. That’s what happens when you’re power hungry and politically immature

  14. Tony Waterman April 14, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    @Walter Prescod!!! Unless that is SARCASM, you are as big a Stiff Necked FOOL as Donville Inniss is.
    @jr smith!!!! “”very few businesses with government involvement is known to be successful.”” Name me ONE that EVER Was.
    @Augustine R Ferdinand!!!! Just like Walter Prescod, unless you are being SARCASTIC, then you are part of the Problem by being ok with the remarks of Donville Inniss, about, and to our “”LOW”” (That’s how we see them) Islander People.



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