The editor of the Barbados Today is condemning the attack on former and present LIAT pilots that was launched by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, and calls on him to “offer an unreserved apology to the Barbadian workers.”
Browne made the disparaging remarks on his affiliated radio station last Saturday, March 20.
At least 10 pilots have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, challenging the constitutionality of the recently amended Companies Act.
The amendment bars creditors of the airline from taking any action against the Government as it seeks to resuscitate the ailing carrier.
Browne retaliated viciously, saying: “You see those very pilots, especially those in Barbados? I’m told that they are some rotten elements. And one of the reasons why LIAT collapsed is not so much because of COVID, you know; it’s because of the behaviour of them rotten elements within LIAT.”
“Having challenged the constitutionality of the law, the pilots are now on the receiving end of a verbal attack by Prime Minister Gaston Browne,” the editor writes.
Theeditorial says such attacks areunbecoming of a leader who supposedly respects the rule of law and the rights of workers.
Meanwhile, Browne also accused the pilots of destroying the company and wanting, now, to benefit from it.“So, after those rotten elements done mash up the company, they coming to make trouble again,” he said.
And in no uncertain terms, he threatened the pilots using colloquial language.: “They better wet their hands and wait for us, because we coming hard,” he declared.
In turn, the editor reminds Browne that the people of the region are “no snowflakes,” as they are accustomed to forceful language from politicians, especially on the platform.
“But we also know where to draw the line with divisive, unproductive rhetoric,” the editorial says, adding that the former Barbados-based workers deserve much better treatment than is being meted out to them.
Therefore, the editor believes the time is right to push back, and let PM Browne know that he has crossed the line, since the workers are entitled to defend their rights. The legal system must be allowed to work, unimpeded by politics, the editorial says.
It also makes a call for CARICOM Heads to condemn Browne’s statements.
The editorial adds that the decision to carry the burden of LIAT by itself can be explained only by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.