The Government of Antigua and Barbuda plans to invest directly in the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, and has scrapped plans to buy the shares that Barbados has in the carrier, it has been announced.
“We have taken the decision, instead of buying Barbados’ shares, that we will invest directly in LIAT — subject to the approval of the other shareholder governments — and I don’t see why they should stop us from investing directly in LIAT; LIAT needs the cash,” Antigua Observer quoted Prime Minister Gaston Browne as saying over the weekend.
The publication reported that Browne disclosed that he had indicated to the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, that the Antigua and Barbuda government has $40 million that can be made available to recapitalise LIAT.
He asserted that thereafter, LIAT will be restructured “to ensure that it becomes a little leaner and to ensure that it can at least turn an operating profit going forward”.
The Barbadian government has a 49 percent interest in the airline, while Antigua and Barbuda owns 34 percent.
Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has repeatedly made it clear that his administration will not support the financially strapped LIAT, if there continues to be ‘business as usual’ at the carrier.
“LIAT must change,” Chastanet told reporters during an impromptu interview here earlier this year.