Fire Ralph!

Pitcher wants Gonsalves out as chairman of LIAT shareholder governments

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves must go.

That is the demand of Robert Pitcher, one of the biggest critics of regional carrier LIAT, who said the Vincentian prime minister should be stripped of his chairmanship of the airline’s shareholder governments.

Gonsalves is also responsible for civil aviation in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) quasi-government, a responsibility Pitcher also wants taken from him.

The Barbadian businessman held a media conference Friday morning at his Fun N’ Sun Publishing’s office in Rendezvous, Christ Church, at which he called for a shake up of the entire leadership of LIAT, both at the policymaking and administrative levels.

Just last week Gonsalves reported that the airline was expected to record EC$9.2 million (BDS$6.8 million) in losses at the end of this year, while revealing that the shareholder governments were considering a request for an additional EC$5 million for the airline.

At the time, he had also outlined a range of reforms slated for the coming months, including the possibility of staff cuts and eliminating “non-performing and non-profitable” routes. He also said then that Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia had been invited to become “equity partners” in the struggling carrier.

At his media briefing Friday, Pitcher agreed that countries benefitting form the airline should contribute to its purse. However, he slammed Gonsalves and the carrier for threatening to cut routes without first replacing the current management team, beginning with the chairman of the shareholder governments himself.

“With all this background that LIAT has, all they need to do is remove Mr Gonsalves from the aviation ministry in CARICOM and put a young guy that his country suffers from an airlift point of view. Make Roosevelt Skerrit [Prime Minister of Dominica] the aviation minister [for CARICOM],” Pitcher told journalists.

Robert Pitcher
Robert Pitcher

Both Gonsalves and Skerrit have been highly critical of LIAT in recent months after passengers from their countries were left stranded, with the Vincentian prime minister going as far as declaring he was not prepared to put another red cent into the airline’s operations unless he started to see major improvements. His Dominican counterpart had also complained about its service, insisting that passengers were paying customers and should be treated as such.

“That came because of his own Vincentian people having to wait at the airport for long hours, flights being delayed and flights being cancelled. It is wrong and stupid for staff to take advice from management that should not be in place,” Pitcher said in reference Gonsalves’ threat, without making any reference to Skerrit, who back in April had written a scathing letter to then chief executive officer David Evans expressing “utter disgust at the shabby manner” in which Dominica was being treated by the airline.

“I am warning, now, that this must stop,” Skerrit wrote at the time in the letter which was copied to the major shareholders.

Evans resigned soon afterwards, and it was unclear whether the letter had triggered his resignation.

Friday Pitcher did see eye to eye with Gonsalves on the subject of inviting the three member countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to become shareholders. In fact, he suggested the British Virgin Islands, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago should also help finance the regional carrier.

“But my reservations is to not to put it under the present management and board. That is my qualms about it. You have got to be able to change from the head because if the head bad the body can’t function,” Pitcher insisted.

The frequent flyer has in the past dismissed the idea of any action by the shareholders against governments that did not invest in the airline as nothing but stupidness. In an interview with Barbados TODAY in March 2014, the local businessman had said what was needed was better planning and scheduling of flights for the routes that were deemed unprofitable.

In that interview he had also called for the dismissal of the board of directors and had recommended that former Antigua and Barbuda senator Aziz Hadeed, Barbados business magnate Ralph Bizzy Williams and Dominican hotelier Gregor Nassief be appointed to the board of the troubled carrier.

Today, he went one step further and suggested that Nassief, himself a strong critic of LIAT’s service, be appointed as the new chairman, joined by Mark Maloney and other successful businessmen from Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines on the new board.

Maloney, he believed, would also be willing to put money into the airline, something he said the private sector should consider in order to bring LIAT to profitability.

In addition to changing the board of directors and the management, Pitcher said, the airline should be made to function “semi-privately”, although he acknowledged that regional governments may not necessarily want to place it entirely in the hands of the private sector.

“They will want to hold on. When I say semi-private, you need to be able to put businesspeople whether it belongs to your governing [political] party or if the person belong to an opposition party, and show the taxpayers and the people of your country that you are not politically foolish but that you are doing something for them. You are not doing it for yourself or to gain votes,” Pitcher said.

14 Responses to Fire Ralph!

  1. Vylna Agnes George
    Vylna Agnes George October 29, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Fire him and that will make LIAT perform better??

  2. Alex Alleyne October 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Same thing is being said of the Prez of WICB.
    What has to be done is, “shut down LIAT and WICB”.
    But as we all know, that will never happen, cause “THINGS TOO GOOD”, for a few who control from the top.
    We out here who need change will continue to sing “hymn a ton” and still no stone will be turned.

    • Phil October 29, 2016 at 11:53 am

      what do you know? give us some facts. Are you on the ground in St. Vincent? Have you seen the developments that are taking place? Do you know what level of offshore investments are in the pipeline under Dr. Gonsalves? Shut up or put up and stop listening to ugly and jealous rumors. I am there often enough to see for myself.

  3. Phil October 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    You operated a badly failed tourism related travel magazine which received bad reviews, especially when compared to other tourism related magazines out there. Pray tell me have you ever approached anyone connected to LIAT privately to produce their in-flight magazine or the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourist magazine in a private meeting? Just guessing and asking?

    • tn October 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      what does any of that have to do with LIAT?…evidence against LIAT’s continuing colossal failure is there for all to see in the public domain with damming quotes from all those mentioned including Gonsalves…what the heck do magazines or what is happening in SVG have to do with this topic?…nada….stay with the program…please.

  4. James Lynch October 29, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Perhaps while we are doing the best we can for LIAT we should also be calling for…

    1. Removal of Gonsalves’ Rubber Stamp – the unqualified do-nothing Board Chairman Jean Holder.
    2. Removal of Board Chairman Jean Holder’s Rubber Stamp – the rest of the unqualified do-nothing Board.
    3. Removal of LIAT’s unqualified, inexperienced and uselesss executive management.
    ~ AND ~
    4. Presentation into public domain of LIAT’s Annual Accounts for the last 41 years.

  5. James Lynch October 29, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    FYI, your good friend “Schizo” Ralphie has been micro-managing LIAT since he was appointed shareholder Chairman. Ralphie has been one of the leading voices in refusing to allow change at LIAT. And “Schizo” had NO PROBLEMS with all of LIAT’s delays, cancellations and breakdowns until his sports team got left behind.

    FYI, your good friend Jean Holder spends all of his time writing tourism books for his own profit. He uses the stipend of the LIAT Chairman position to write – it is pellucidly clear that he does NOTHING ELSE as far as LIAT is concerned. Check JH’s performance over the last 20 years – every time there is a LIAT disaster he pokes his head out of his hole, says a few meaningless words, and ducks back into his hole.

    FYI, your good friends on the Board are incompetent and unqualified in the aviation field. Don’t tell me about Mayers, he left aviation when I was a mere child some fifty years ago, and what he left was being a pilot on DC-3s and cargo, not state-of-the-art electronics, 300 knots and 28,000 feet altitude. Mayers is as far from aviation now as the sun of from the moon. IMHO all of the Board Members are receiving their political pensions – do-nothing rewards and perks for “services rendered”.

    FYI, your good friend Julie Riefer-Jones was ably assisted into the CFO position at LIAT by your mutual good friend Jean Holder when she was unable rto convince quite a few other employers of her knowledge matching her paper qualifications. Having spent some tears relaxing in a deep and unchallenged rut as an accountant at Almond Resorts, she clearly has no business commanding the financial affairs of a multi-million dollar multi-currency multi-owner multi-faceted fast-moving dynamic airline like LIAT.

    What is obvious is that Pitcher has not gone far enough… to save LIAT we need a clean sweep, and we need a selection proicess for the replacements that does NOT allow political or “friend” influences to corrupt the process.

    Those who need to “shut up” are people protecting their political friends who have hidden agendas and potty mouths and who challenge sensible suggestions and demands for a better today and tomorrow.

    LIAT is a festering pile of political crap. LIAT can break even, LIAT can make a proifit, but not with 20 political and poor managerial anchors dragging the floor and strangling it.

    As for “seeing it yourself”, take a long walk off a short pier. I was there for 16 years and saw just about everything abusive, septic, pustular and cancerous that it was possible to see – from the inside of that disgusting corporate body.

  6. Phil October 29, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    So James Lynch, Quite a mouthful. Sounds like gossip to me. What exactly is your capacity with LIAT? What exactly do you bring to the table that would improve LIAT’s bottom line? Your remarks are filled with conjecture and speculation. Who’s unqualified and are you? You may have been a pilot but that does NOT qualify you to lead an airline. If you got balls, then offer to buy out and run LIAT. Lynch, your name says exactly what needs gto be done to you.

    • James Lynch October 29, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      You really are a nasty piece of work, aren’t you. Better run back to your friends at LIAT and tell them all about me – and I guarantee they know where to find me, too.

      As for offering to buy LIAT out, yes, I’ve been there, done that – offered the shareholders a joint venture for US$200 million but your equally nasty friend Schizo Ralphie turned it down because I offered that dirty word CHANGE.

      If you knew ANYTHING about LIAT you would know that, too. But you don’t so you don’t. You retarded idiot.

      Sociopaths don’t like change, and Marxists don’t like change. Ralphie is both, hence the call for him to be KICKED OUT. Others have called for him and your other friend Comrade Psycho to be kicked out for DECADES.

      Qualified? Yes, I’m qualified, and many, many ways. Flying was not the only thing I ever did with my life, Barbados is my birthplace but is not the only country I ever lived in, and I bet the things I did in ten years are far more than you will ever do in your entire sad brainless miserable yard fowl lifetime.

      And no. I’m not about to list my CV here for you to pick apart – you would LOVE that, wouldn’t you, you snivelling little turd.

      So go back into your hole with Jean Holder, you nasty ignorant little crabby creature. And stop that chattering your legs and claws together, it’s giving the rest of us a headache.

      SHOO before I throw you in a pot of boiling water and turn your shell red…

      • Phillip October 29, 2016 at 9:41 pm

        With US $200 million you could have STARTED YOUR OWN AIRLINE. Liars really believe the rest of the world is stupid.

  7. Coralita October 29, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    These blogs getting more and more hilarious. Murdah!!!!

    Men bashing each other.

    • James Lynch October 30, 2016 at 10:30 am

      I just love to leave those smelly Trolls gasping under their nasty little bridges with their tails between their legs. They never have anything REAL to say, they just go around looking for ways to rile serious people up. He playing games with the wrong people this time, doah…

  8. Donild Trimp October 30, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Some real uppercuts to the jaws of Phil, Executive Director of Caribbean Business Development (whatever that is).

    Lawd!!!!!!!!!!! Go easy on the lightweight Mr.Lynch.

    • Jim Lynch October 29, 2017 at 8:33 am

      If “Phil” really is an Executive Director of “Caribbean Business Development”, no wonder Caribbean Business Development is in such a sad, sorry, disgusting state – going by his blatherings he is just one of Ralphie’s go-fer minions – and Ralphie apparently keeps him in a hole under a bridge somewhere. Such a nasty LITTLE person.


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