Gonsalves: LIAT must do better

St Vincent and the Grenadines prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is blaming current inefficiencies plaguing LIAT on the airline’s failure to implement a decision to shift its base from Antigua and Barbuda.

Shareholder governments decided in February 2015 that Barbados would house four of the airline’s new ATR aircraft, becoming the main fleet base, while two planes would remain in Antigua and the other two would be based in Trinidad.

Gonsalves said at the time the decision was merely the better financial option for LIAT.

This week the Ministry of Civil Aviation in Kingstown added its voice to the chorus of complaints about poor service from the beleaguered regional carrier, and today, Gonsalves did not mince words when he spoke with Barbados TODAY on the way forward for LIAT.

“Good changes have been made but some changes have been slower than others and that is reality. The decision to shift the base has not been rescinded but the management has not carried out the decision and I would like find out why,” the outspoken Vincentian leader said immediately after his participation in today’s symposium on Brexit at the Walcott Warner Theatre of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.

Vincentian Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, moderator Pamela Coke-Hamilton and former Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur at today’s symposium.
Vincentian Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, moderator Pamela Coke-Hamilton and former Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur at today’s symposium.

“I don’t want to have an argument with another shareholder government, but I think it makes commercial sense and better for the delivery of a better service to the passengers if we carry out that plan,” Gonsalves stated when asked about Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s opposition to such a shift.

“We have had some simple things which should have been solved. You have a lot of vanities with a lot of people and groups and they create challenges. LIAT has nine aircraft and they are getting their tenth in October and the number of passengers we carrying is more than when we had 15 aircraft.

“The reasons they [LIAT] gave for the poor service of late, which is more of an excuse, has been bad weather. When the schedule is put out of whack, even for an hour, it has a knock-on effect throughout the whole chain because you do nearly a thousand flights per week,” the chairman of the shareholder governments said.

“At the moment we have to do better,” he stressed.

7 Responses to Gonsalves: LIAT must do better

  1. harry turnover September 10, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Gonsalves YOU and EVERYBODY who is familiar with LIAT knows who is and where the problem is…..and YOU and Stuart ESPECIALLY CAN’T DO ANYTHING about the Hitler look a like and the Country ???……..man wunna got to be meking real sport jack.
    Gonsalves…. everybody is looking at Bdos the BIGGEST shareholder to start the ball rolling…BUT…Stuart en gine do anything .By now you should know how he operates.He will sit back ,let others do the hard work and then jump in talking bold and pretty .

  2. BimJim September 10, 2016 at 8:51 am

    PM Gonsalves has now officially become the eastern Caribbean’s Poster Child for psychopathic bipolar schizophrenics, and promoted to President of the Caribbean Jackass Club.

    For at least a decade, PM Gonsalves has HIMSELF run LIAT the way PM Gonzalves HIMSELF wants LIAT to be run. PM Gonsalves has HIMSELF stated in public that LIAT MUST be run at a loss, because it is a social service. PM Gonsalves has HIMSELF forced a brand new LIAT aircraft to land at his unfinished, uninsured, uncertified Argyle airport with fully one-third of the proposed runway a huge hole where the drainage culverts were being installed.

    As a result of the lack of the proper aviation knowledge, qualifications and expertise PM Gonsalves and his unqualified Board (not to mention management) have run the airline into the ground, losing fully HALF of the passenger numbers of five years ago – and now losing pilots as well at a rate unprecedented in it’s 57 year history.

    As a result of HIS OWN lack of competence and Marxist (Communist) approach to the airline, LIAT runs most flights with a delay, there are many cancellations, and obviously service is a bit patchy.

    But PM Gonsalves HIMSELF is now complaining about a loss of service to SVG because ONE sports team was inconvenienced?

    As my Friends on facebook are wont to say, “WTF?”

  3. Rahtid September 10, 2016 at 9:05 am

    I have a solution…

    1. Fire top management and replace them with people who have a clue about aviation and airlines. Top management is the third biggest problem in LIAT.
    2. Fire the ENTIRE Board and replace them with people who have a clue about aviation and airlines. The Board is the second biggest problem in LIAT.
    3. Fire yourself. Permanently. Have NOTHING more to do with LIAT. YOU are the biggest problem in LIAT.

    If LIAT were on a commercial footing, neither you, any of the Directors or any of the top management now running LIAT would have been involved from the beginning.

    YOU pushed your busybody nose into LIAT the same way you push your busybody nose into every other regional organisation, and between you and the other PMs you jointly placed political appointees who are, were and always will be patently unsuitable, unqualified and not competent to run an airline.

    The Chairman of the Board of LIAT is still writing a couple of books a year about TOURISM, and from his own writings in all the time he has been on the Board it is clear he has learned NOTHING about aviation.

    If you want to save LIAT then LEAVE THE STUDIO, Mr. Gonsalves, LEAVE THE STUDIO.

  4. Alex Alleyne September 10, 2016 at 9:31 am

    LIAT & WICB need to be handled by a company outside of the Caribbean. Until then is just going to be man after man looking for blood.

  5. Tony Webster September 10, 2016 at 11:12 am

    @BimJim: that’s a good take-off indeed Sir! Thanks for putting things into “level and stable flight”.and a clear perspective to Our!
    . One correction: the goodly Honourable gentleman, was never a communist, but at least when he had charge of tender minds at his feet , whilst lecturing up The Hill, he did confess to having a fondness for “Scientific Socialism”.

    • BimJim September 10, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Comrade Ralphie was/is a Maurice Bishop sympathiser, and I can tell you there are many more just like him in high positions throughout the EC.

      After seeing the violence in Grenada – BEFORE THE US TROOPS ARRIVED – as far as I am concerned Marxism and Communism are in the same category – and do not belong in our comfortable elected dictatorships called democracies (they are actually kleptocracies turning oligarchal, just like in the USA and Canada).

      On the main subject, LIAT _CAN_ break even and possibly even make money, but the politics, politicians and political appointees MUST be removed and the airline run commercially by people who lknow their stuff – which it can do without chopping any destinations.

      The politicians also need to stop using travel as a cash cow – they also appear to be using taxes and fees as a strong antidote to that freedom of intra-regional movement they have been spouting for votes (lying about) for the last 30 years.

      The monopoly that is LIAT now exists in a time of record low oil prices… the combination of monopoly and low costs should mean AT THE VERY LEAST break even, but here we are hearing about yet another US$50 million shortfall.

      AND we – the taxpayers to pay the bills – are not even allowed to see LIAT’s annual accounts… they have not been published since the governments took over LIAT some 50 years ago.


  6. BimJim September 10, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Word I get is that the current LIAT CFO (Accountant) has applied for the CEO position.

    I wonder if LIAT’s oversight (PM Gonsalves and his Idunno yard fowl Board) will continue down the path of most incompetence and appoint her as the next blind leader of the regional aviation posse?

    Word is she cannot even do her own job, surely she must not now inevitably be promoted above her own studied level of incompetence? After all, she IS a friend of Chairman Jean Holder, and of course this is how we like to do things in the eastern Caribbean. Not what we know, but who we blow.

    And whatever losses LIAT incurs, always remenmber that our Marxist Comrade Ralphie Boy only has to find 11% – Antigua has to find 30%, and we in BARBADOS have to find HALF.

    Is Barbados printing enough spare money have US$25 million a year to throw down the LIAT black hole? Because for every US$25 million Barbados throws, old Ralphie boy across our common stream there is only dropping US$5.5 million – a sneeze in a hurricane, mere pocket money to Vincie – after already finding EC$800 million for his Argyle boondoggle wash-away airport now two years late in opening… and still counting.


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