Prime Minister Gaston Browne is calling for the decision made by two Caribbean countries to suspend LIAT services to be reviewed.
On Friday, LIAT which is now under Administration, announced a suspension of services to Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, less than a week after restoring its commercial passenger flights.
A scheduled flight to Barbados was made on Monday but LIAT says they have since been informed by both territories, that new arrangements must be made for entry into the countries.
“I don’t know who is informing this type of policy but it is a policy that cannot be sustained and all it is doing is just literally demonstrating some sort of benevolence by persons in those countries but I am hoping that the leaders in these two countries will step up and address that issue before it actually deterioates,” Browne said.
These three countries have been at logger heads over the past months following the revelation of the closure of LIAT 1974 Company Ltd. Since that initial pronouncement, Browne has accused his colleages Barbadian PM Mia Mottley and Vincentian PM Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of trying to undermine the vision of the revamped regional airline LIAT 2020 Ltd.
Browne once again accused his regional counterparts in St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados of discriminating against the new LIAT while on his radio show on Saturday.
“It’s an unfortunate development that these impediments are developed. Notwithstanding the fact that LIAT has valid flight approval to fly into these countries. LIAT is not a new carrier, they have been flying for decades and the irony is there were no such requirements for other carriers. All of the other airlines that resumed services in those countries had no such requirements so the question is why are they discriminating against LIAT?,” he asked.
“LIAT is a regional instiution with in the OECS and the broader CARICOM region and should be given national treatment. Not to be treated like some stepchild but to be embraced and if anything should be given preference ,” he added.
Browne noted that if these countries do decide to continue this action then it “will result in a strain in trade” and hinted of maybe some sort of legal action as according to him the air service agreement “provides for the airline to fly within the region”.
He is however confident that LIAT will succeed despite the actions of his CARICOM counterparts.
The carrier relaunched it services on November 30th, with the resumption of passenger flights to seven regional destinations including Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis and St Vincent & the Grenadines.