Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister has said in an interview published by Barbados Today that LIAT needs significant injections of capital from new sources.
“Even if Barbados sells a significant portion of its shares and Antigua gets the majority, Barbados will remain a significant player because it will still be on the board. The truth is this, what LIAT needs is a heavy dose of new equity capital,” Gonsalves was quoted as saying.
“That is the issue as I see it, rather than the buying of shares from one country by another – to have more money inside of LIAT to help it to do the necessary and desirable restructuring to serve the public better and improve LIAT’s bottom line,” he said.
Gonsalves asserted that although the loss-making Caribbean airline was desperately in need of funding, which should also come from destinations that benefit from its service, he questioned their willingness to fund an operation that is inefficient.
Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has in the past made it clear that his government will not invest money into the ailing airline, despite pleas from regional leaders to help keep the carrier afloat.
LIAT is owned by regional shareholders, with major shareholders being the Governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
It has some 600 employees.