LIAT moving?

Barbados wants greater return on investment

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy has promised that additional operations of regional airline LIAT will be moved to the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), following upgrades over the coming months.

However, he stopped short of saying what operations would relocate here.

Sealy suggested that Barbadians were paying too much for the airline but getting very little benefit. He said, therefore, following the establishment of a new civil aviation facility as well as other upgrades at the GAIA in the coming months he would ensure that there was increased activities from the cash-strapped airline in Barbados.

“We anticipate, given the fact that the Barbadian taxpayers . . . are being asked to shoulder majority of the burden where LIAT is concerned, it is only natural, that as you heard only recently that LIAT is being put on a firmer [and] sounder economic footing, that there are decisions that will have to be taken with respect to LIAT that will result in increased levels of activity at this airport as far as LIAT is concerned,” announced Sealy.

He made the comments today at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new civil aviation building to be constructed in Charnocks, Christ Church.

Sealy said it was not fair to ask the Barbados to shoulder most of the airline’s debt “and yet we don’t enjoy commensurate benefit”, adding there was “plenty of space” at the GAIA.

“I am very happy to hear that Prime Minister [Baldwin] 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,” added Sealy.

When pressed by reporters, Sealy said there were no immediate plans to move the headquarters of LIAT to Barbados, but he noted there were LIAT departments already here “and we have to look to see, going forward, what makes economic sense”.

“. . . We must understand that if Barbados is in a majority position, the larger shareholder, then the largest portion of that debt is over our heads. It is only obvious then, we owe them to make sure that sound economic decisions are made,” explained Sealy.

One Response to LIAT moving?

  1. bimjim April 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    As an aviation professional I am seriously beginning to believe that in the eastern Caribbean the letters MBA stand for something extremely rude, such as Much Bigger Ass.

    Here is YET ANOTHER politician who knows nothing about aviation yet is expounding on how LIAT and aviation in Barbados will be better served.

    Spend more money, build another building, do the opposite of what others advise you, and all will be well.

    Barbados owns over 50% of LIAT – if the airline is so expensive how about SELLING some of those shares, Mr. Big Smart Man MBA Sealy? You want other countries to buy in, yet your own Maximum Leader Fumble Dumble refuses to make any decisions and delayes every process in the country for years.

    Aviation in Barbados has become so bad that the current quarters for the usually-deserted CAD office have been condemned by the health authorities. So, rather than fix what is broken, you have deemed it better for bankrupt Barbados to find another 20 million dollars or so to erect yet another new building to house it.

    Are there kickbacks from the consruction crews, Mr. Minister – or is this really legitimate?

    You say you plan to have a CAA, Mr. Big Shot MBA Sealy – where is the legislation that was supposedly started by your predecessor three or more years ago? Or is that all lost in your files too? Maybe you will find it filed under “Giant Tiger Shrimp”.

    So you want Category One? That requires adequate oversight and removal of political interference – and that means quality, knowledgeable, experienced, qualified people with broad minds, Mr. MBA Sealy Minister, Sir. Promoting yet another limited-knowledge career Air Traffic Controller to the head of the CAD and hiring former elected Ministers of other country’s governments do not satisfy the international requirements.

    And here’s another hint: Such foreign people don’t satisfy the Barbados Official Secrets Act requirements either.

    Category One requires that oversight be real, not imagined. Anyone who has visited the aviation facilities in Barbados for the last 15 years (as I have done) will tell you that clearly no inspectors have done the rounds for decades, perhaps never, nobody insists on standards, and nobody insists on the country’s laws and regulations being upheld.

    Aviation in Barbados is a SHAMBLES, Mr. MBA Minister, and you are not making it any better. But you want to bring LIAT into such a shambles so you can add four jobs – well, good luck to you, Mr. MBA Minister. And I seriously doubt that you can do anything about it because as we know Barbadian politicians know everything and will not listen to anyone.

    The parting shot from the FAA last year was “Don’t call us for another ten years” – that’s really how bad it is, Mr. Minister. So at least now you know how long you have to put it right.


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