Not in that!

PM sidesteps LIAT feud; describes CSME talks as ‘cordial’

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today refused to be dragged into public discussion over the vexed issue of regional air transportation.

However, he told reporters covering the 38th CARICOM Heads of Government Summit in Grenada that the matter was due to be thrashed out by regional leaders behind closed doors, following concerns raised by host Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell at last night’s opening about the level of political involvement in the affairs of regional carrier LIAT.

“That is a discussion that we are going to have in caucus . . .  I prefer not to comment on it at this stage,” said Stuart in a brief comment on the matter after Mitchell took issue with a decision made a few months ago, to cancel what he said was one of LIAT’s “most lucrative routes to and from Grenada, without any consultation with the citizens or leadership of Grenada”.

In fact the Grenadian leader suggested that the decision was “all based on politics”, while reiterating what he said was his “long held belief that political presence on the board of airlines, such as LIAT, is not helpful to its proper management and efficiency”.

His public outburst did not go down very well with either his Vincentian or Antiguan counterpart.

In fact, St Vincent’s prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves accused the Grenadian leader of engaging in “sophistry”, while joining with Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister Gaston Browne in calling for more investment in LIAT.

“It is one thing to sit on the sidelines and criticize it [LIAT]. It is another to put your money where your mouth is,”  Gonsalves insisted.

And while pointing out that LIAT was currently struggling to pay its debts, Browne warned that no amount of “political grandstanding” would do by those who did not contribute to its operations and viability.

“The rationale is simple; you contribute and then you can make your demands. There are no free lunches,” he said in response to Mitchell.

However, the matter did not come up during the first business session of the 38th summit, although Stuart said it was likely to be a focal point in Wednesday afternoon’s caucus.

In the meantime, Stuart reported that “cordial”, but “energetic” talks were held on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, after Barbados, which has lead responsibility within CARICOM’s quasi cabinet for CSME implementation, delivered a status report on the initiative.

Despite recent setbacks, Stuart also reported that CARICOM was still on course for finalizing arrangements for its own single economic space by 2019.

“There is still general commitment to the CSME. It is recognized that the respective countries have differing capacities and therefore timelines are not being met with the kind of fidelity that one would expect, but the commitment is there and therefore there was a general acceptance of things we can do in the short term, in the medium term  and the longer term.

“The longer term of course not going beyond the year 2019, but generally speaking we had very good discussions on that,” Stuart said.

Today’s meeting also received a presentation on the CARICOM Commission on the Economy by Senator Darcy Boyce, who is Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Stuart revealed that within the context of Boyce’s report recommendations were made on regional transportation but all he would say at this stage was that “those talks went very well”.

Other matters before CARICOM leaders this week include regional security; the effects of trans-national organized crime; and the movement of firearms throughout the Caribbean, which Stuart said, were “of growing concern to governments across the region”.

“We have to treat security seriously. For us, it is a developmental issue and not just an issue related to the discipline of people, nor an issue related to punishment and sanctions . . . . It has implications for our development,” he said.

He also gave the assurance that Barbados would be making its voice heard at the conference, since both issues were “of great concern to the country”.

“We want to come out of this conference with some clear indicators as to the way forward in these two areas,” he added.

12 Responses to Not in that!

  1. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince July 5, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Wimp..

    Reply
  2. Eddy Murray
    Eddy Murray July 5, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    The invisible man, do not want to be heard in public, on matters related to LIAT. I want to heard how my hard earn money being spend in LIAT.

    Reply
  3. Tracy Brown
    Tracy Brown July 5, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Nuh say a word yah Mr PM go thru same way

    Reply
  4. Michael Goodman
    Michael Goodman July 5, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    “Not in that”? He’s not in anything.

    Reply
  5. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba July 5, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    so ya mean we 142million dollars, just gone up in smoke…… this hognose snake could really find ah hole to co-coon in…he is so damn sickening

    Reply
  6. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba July 5, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    circus time for dem, coney island? wha u all think?

    Reply
  7. Saga Boy July 6, 2017 at 12:14 am

    What is wrong with the PM not discussions this issue in public? That is nit the way business is done. Mitchell should never have brought it up in the first place. This Is what diplomacy is about. They can resolve the issue behind closed doors.

    Reply
  8. Alex Alleyne July 6, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Anywhere in the WORLD any Country that put up the most money in anything speaks with the loudest voice.

    Reply
  9. Tony Webster July 6, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Last year, the assembled HOGS received a supposedly, thorough, and professional status report on LIAT.
    One assumes this would have presented the various options, if not recommendations, to our leaders.

    What has been done, or achieved, since then? Does refusing to talk openly, candidly, and honestly, present an insurmountable difficulty? The Right Honourable gentleman could as well just called in sick, to Grand Anse.

    Reply
  10. Milli Watt July 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    fruns exporting his talent to the region……..keeping silent. suppose it make sense if you don’t want people to know how much you spend on LIAT.

    Reply
  11. Saga Boy July 6, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Tell me in which companies private or public in Barbados do you have the largest shareholder speaking out in a loud voice for all to hear. The PM understands diplomacy.

    Reply

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