PM Mitchell says Grenada prepared to offer LIAT subsidy
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said on Wednesday that Grenada is prepared to provide the cashstrapped regional airline, LIAT, with a financial subsidy for it to service the island, but was not prepared to provide funds for the airline’s operations.
“Grenada will have no difficulty providing some subsidy to LIAT but I am not taking money and give it and say spend it as you want . . . That is an offer I made since Jean Holder was the chairman,” he told a news conference.
“If the issue is the monopoly, we have to do something about it. If the issue is about imposing taxes on the ticket then we have to do something about it. Right now we are charging ourselves outside of the market,” he said.
Earlier in the week LIAT announced that it would be reducing the number of flights to Grenada as of Friday but Mitchell told reporters that following talks between St George’s and the airline management, the cut has been reduced to just one flight.
Mitchell said that Grenada has an open sky policy and that, like Saint Lucia, his government is holding talks with the Trinidad-based state-owned airline Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and other airlines to service the island.
“We cannot sit down and wait,” he said while calling for the management of LIAT to adopt measures that will improve its operations. Grenada offers a marketing subsidy to a number of international airlines to guarantee they service the island.
Earlier this week, Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told a news conference having CAL as the national carrier may be the best option for the island given the many issues facing air transport in the region.
The former tourism minister, a harsh critic of LIAT, reiterated earlier statements that the airline, whose major shareholders are the governments of Antigua, Barbuda, Barbados, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, cannot solve all of the transportation needs of the region.
LIAT is saved once again.