As the former LIAT employees struggle to access the millions in severance they are owed, Prime Minister Gaston Browne is telling them to get off their high horse and negotiate with the respective shareholder governments.
Yet again, Browne is asserting that these governments have no legal obligation to pay off the affected workers, since the airline operated as a limited liability company – meaning that their liability was limited to their shareholdings.
Accordingly, he says that any money they receive is being offered on a compassionate basis.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, July 11, Browne said the respective shareholder governments lost hundreds of millions of dollars over the years in keeping the regional carrier in the air.
At this time – which he describes as one of the most difficult periods in the history of the world – Browne says it is unreasonable for the former workers to demand 100 percent payment of a liability that does not exist.
Again, he insists the workers do not have such legal rights.
Clapping back at the LIAT workers, Browne told them they are not the only stakeholders facing hardships, and initiatives have been put in place to assist them, such as the recently announced expansion of the Food Vouchers Programme – which he claims the Government needs $15 to $20 million to fund.
Prime Minister Browne continued by laying blame at the feet of the respective unions – accusing them of playing politics with the matter, rather than trying to convince the workers that 50 percent of their severance is better than nothing at all.
Meanwhile, this past weekend, the United Progressive Party reiterated its commitment to pay the former LIAT workers their full severance – a move that Browne says is foolish and unrealistic.