Prime Minister Dr Rt Hon Keith Mitchell wants to see a more serious and responsible LIAT serving the needs of the region. During the weekly post cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Dr Mitchell said regional governments must take some responsibility for the mismanagement of the regional airline, by pumping money into LIAT without conditionality on performance.
The airline, which has been serving the region for many years, has had its share of financial and other challenges, often the subject of discussion by leaders in the region.
“I believe LIAT should be run on the basis of private commercial activities because you want to be a good business…that is my own position,” said Dr Mitchell. “Grenada has given millions of dollars…One time over $20 million loaned to CDB…people are just fed up.”
The Grenadian leader told the 38th Regular Conference of CARICOM Heads Of Government in Grenada last week, that there was too much political interference on the board of airlines like LIAT.
Officials in Grenada were upset after a decision by LIAT management some time ago to cut the lucrative morning flight to Barbados.
“My position is, I want LIAT as a serious operation, we should not want to do anything, not to see that LIAT functions effectively because it is a part of our history. But I am saying we want a more responsible LIAT,” the Prime Minister told the media on Tuesday.
“You are running a business and you telling me you could have the most lucrative routes and you say because I don’t pay you, you are not going to come here. Is that how you want to run a business? I am afraid that business won’t last.”
Prime Minister Mitchell has been asking CARICOM to collectively reduce airline taxes to trigger lower fares, and has also proposed that governments should subsidise specific routes that benefit them.