As criticism continues to mount against the Government for its
handling of the transition to LIAT (2020) Ltd., Prime Minister
Gaston Browne is hinting that the new airline could become
operational within the next two months.
A CMC report says that Browne is pushing ahead with plans to
launch the inter-regional LIAT (2020) by November this year.
In the meantime, the Caribbean Investment Bank (CDB) has
prepared a document to revive regional air travel, and it does not
include LIAT (2020). Further, St. Vincent and The Grenadines has
expressed an interest in starting another regional carrier.
But despite these realities, Browne says he remains hopeful that
other regional countries will participate in his new venture.
While the regional heads will have differences of opinion, he says,
ultimately they will come to an amalgamation of ideas and move
forward with an agreement.
He acknowledges the need for air transportation that connects the
people of the OECS and the broader CARICOM region, but says he
has no intention of “giving up” on LIAT (2020).
Browne also wishes for it to be headquartered in Antigua – where it
would continue to provide jobs and export aviation services to the
At the same time, he admits that his administration could not
convert the other OECS countries to its vision for the new air carrier
– saying that some believed the creditors of LIAT (1974) Ltd. would
go after their investment in LIAT (2020).
Browne says he tried to convince them that the two carriers are
separate legal entities and that there is absolutely no legal basis on
which creditors of the former carrier could pursue the new limited
He points to instances where other entities went into liquidation
and formed new companies, both in the region and in the United
States, in the same manner in which LIAT 2020 is being established.
Some heads of government are arguing that the new entity
automatically will be liable for LIAT (1974) Ltd.’s liabilities. But
Browne insists this is not the case, and he accuses them of being
disingenuous, saying that, as legal practitioners, some of them
should know better.
Meanwhile, Browne says that “having given full market value for the
assets,” his Administration intends to buy the planes, as well.
The Government says it plans to invest between US$15 – US$20
million in the new LIAT venture, and is seeking to negotiate a
governing agreement with the principals of Air Peace, a private
Nigerian airline founded in 2013.