Antigua – Barbuda PM defends LIAT

News and information which is politically-based and directly or indirectly relevant to Caribbean aviation
User avatar
bimjim
Forum Administrator
Forum Administrator
Posts: 30855
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006

Antigua – Barbuda PM defends LIAT

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Jun 02, 2019

https://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/2019/0 ... ends-liat/

Antigua – Barbuda PM defends LIAT
May 31, 2019

ST JOHNS, Antigua

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has revealed that matters concerning LIAT are of regional importance and are not hidden matters or only for shareholder governments.

Browne made these remarks on a public platform following comments by Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley that her Cabinet is yet to determine the fate of its involvement with the cash-starved carrier.

This was a week after Browne revealed that Mottley has consented to sell all but ten percent of Barbados’ 49 percent ownership in LIAT.

The Antigua and Barbuda prime minister’s view is that everyone should be concerned about the fate of the regional carrier.

“Placing LIAT on the path of viability and sustainability is not for [a] private discussion. You’re talking about an airline that is owned by several Caribbean countries, one in which we utilised taxpayer’s money to invest in LIAT and when it comes to public funds, I believe we all have an obligation.

“I have tried my best to be accountable to the people of Antigua and Barbuda and I make no apologies about it,” Browne said.

Browne said he does not accept that he spoke out of turn about the general discussions between himself and Mottley as it is his position as leader of Antigua and Barbuda to sensitise his citizens on topics concerning the country.

“All I did was to indicate that she has so confirmed the willingness of Barbados to negotiate. That is all I’ve said, and I don’t know that there’s any bad form or there’s any talking across the Caribbean. I have a responsibility and a duty to the people of Antigua and Barbuda to account.”

Mottley explained to reporters in Barbados that when a settlement is reached, it will be announced in parliament and no other forum.

Browne maintained his position, asserting that other information in the letter was never revealed, as negotiations are continuing.

He declared that the public was only informed about a letter dated May 16, 2019, in which Mottley showed a readiness to divest some of Barbados’s shares.

“If it is that I was going to show bad form, I would have published the letter and I would have discussed pu­­­blicly some of my own concerns, but I recognise that we have to allow the process of negotiations to take place and those concerns will be addressed.”

Browne shed light on his intentions for LIAT, which involve diminishing the carrier’s responsibilities. He continued further that Antigua and Barbuda is preparing for the expansion of LIAT and will be utilising the old VC Bird terminal building.

“What we plan to do is to extend a lease to LIAT and this will also help to reduce rental costs. I’m told that they spend in excess of a million dollars here in rental costs so by virtue of the government of Antigua and Barbuda making that facility available to LIAT, that should help to reduce its operational costs.”

With concerns to boosting profits, he said steps would be put in place to guarantee that LIAT will discontinue being acceptable with losses.

“There are some other areas where we are looking at to raise revenue and we believe that we can revamp LIAT and to restructure it in such a way for it to become profitable. And even if it makes a loss, it will be a significantly reduced loss,” he said.

User avatar
bimjim
Forum Administrator
Forum Administrator
Posts: 30855
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006

Re: Antigua – Barbuda PM defends LIAT

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Jun 02, 2019

A GUY'S VIEW -- A fundamental principle of democracy – Accountability
R.E. Guyson Mayers
Sun, 06/02/2019
“ST JOHNS , Antigua – Prime Minister Gaston Browne has revealed that matters concerning LIAT are of regional importance and are not hidden matters or only for shareholder governments.
Browne made these remarks on a public platform following comments by Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley that her Cabinet is yet to determine the fate of its involvement with the cash-starved carrier.

This was a week after Browne revealed that Mottley has consented to sell all but ten per cent of Barbados’ 49 per cent ownership in LIAT.

The Antigua and Barbuda prime minister’s view is that everyone should be concerned about the fate of the regional carrier.
“Placing LIAT on the path of viability and sustainability is not for [a] private discussion. You’re talking about an airline that is owned by several Caribbean countries, one in which we utilised taxpayer’s money to invest in LIAT and when it comes to public funds, I believe we all have an obligation.

“I have tried my best to be accountable to the people of Antigua and Barbuda and I make no apologies about it,” Browne said.
Browne said he does not accept that he spoke out of turn about the general discussions between himself and Mottley as it is his position as leader of Antigua and Barbuda to sensitise his citizens on topics concerning the country.
“All I did was to indicate that she has so confirmed the willingness of Barbados to negotiate. That is all I’ve said, and I don’t know that there’s any bad form or there’s any talking across the Caribbean. I have a responsibility and a duty to the people of Antigua and Barbuda to account.”
Mottley explained to reporters in Barbados that when a settlement is reached, it will be announced in Parliament and no other forum.

Browne maintained his position, asserting that other information in the letter was never revealed, as negotiations are continuing.

He declared that the public was only informed about a letter dated May 16, 2019, in which Mottley showed a readiness to
divest some of Barbados’s shares.
“If it is that I was going to show bad form, I would have published the letter and I would have discussed publicly some of my own concerns, but I recognise that we have to allow the process of negotiations to take place and those concerns will be addressed.”

Antigua – Barbuda PM defends LIAT, May 31, 2019, Caribbean News Now.
This extended quote, although appearing innocuous on the surface, speaks deeply to the importance of accountability in governance. It seems that the Barbados Prime Minister may have written to the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, giving certain commitments with respect to the sale of shares in LIAT. Consistent with his responsibility to account to the people who elected him, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda informed them that Barbados had indicated that it was willing to sell the majority of its shares in LIAT to Antigua and Barbuda. Apparently, after that commitment, the Prime Minister of Barbados seems to have pulled back and now claims that Barbados’ position will be announced in Parliament.

One should take no issue with Parliament being consulted on this issue. But shouldn’t this have been done before a letter of commitment was sent to Antigua? At least the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda seems to have understood that letter to say that Barbados was willing to sell. Should this assurance have been given before the author of the letter was given the authority to sell by Cabinet and Parliament?

In 2019 Barbados, Parliament and Cabinet are practically the same thing, but, even if it is artificial, there is a divide. The decisions reached behind the closed doors of Cabinet must be aired in the open house of Parliament. Judging from the words attributed to the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the letter from Barbados seemed quite authoritative; at least sufficiently so for him to openly inform his people of the pending sale of the Barbados shares.

The Antiguan Prime Minister underlined his responsibility to be accountable to his people. His was not an announcement of a deal, but of a negotiation, according to him.

The position of the Barbados Prime Minister seems to be that there shall be no information given to the people of Barbados until a final
decision has been reached on the sale of the shares.
Herein lies the divide between the two forms of governance. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda believes that he has to be open with his people and keep them informed of what he is doing on their behalf. On the other hand, the Barbados Prime Minister seems to have no such concern or intention. In essence, “When I decide I will let you know.”

This attitude may be born of absolute power, which is a dangerous thing. Barbadians may now forget the promises to be transparent and accountable. A lot of talk is not the same thing as a lot of information. Actions speak louder than words. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

This country is perched on the horns of a dilemma overhanging a precipice. Barbadians stand to lose a lot if nothing is done to pull us back. And it cannot be an election that is constitutionally four years away. In four years’ time we may be lost. It is incumbent on all right thinking Barbadians to stand up to protect, not just their personal interests, but the future of this country.

Do we intend to live in a democracy or are we willing to give that up? The choice is really ours.
The oft quoted words of Pastor Martin Niemöller, as he addressed how the German population was complicit in the activities of Adolph Hitler, should be instructive:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Post Reply

Return to “Aviation-related Politics”