The Prime Minister’s flight aboard LIAT to St Vincent is for her first meeting on the island-hopping airline with fellow majority shareholders on Friday.
The Barbadian leader is being hosted by her Vincentian counterpart Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is Chairman of the Major Shareholders. Both prime ministers are expected to deliver opening remarks. LIAT Chief Executive Officer Julie Reifer-Jones is update the shareholders on the state of the intra-regional carrier.
Central to the Kingstown talks will be finding a way for the three majority shareholder governments, already strapped for cash, to fuel up the struggling airline with fresh capital, Prime Minister Mottley indicated.
For LIAT to be viable, it must be recapitalised and the shareholders have to play an even more active role in the sustainability of its operations,” she said in the statement.
Tough decisions had to be made to bring LIAT back on track, she added, considering the carrier was extremely important to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
“What has to be done is not beyond us as shareholder governments and we are keen to do whatever is necessary to ensure the viability of this airline, which is an integral part of inter-island transportation,” Mottley added.
The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerri Symmonds and the ministry’s acting Permanent Secretary Francine Blackman.
The governments of Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda hold a 73% stake in the airline with an additional shareholding by Dominica. Private shareholders (ten per cent) and LIAT (five per cent) make up the minority shareholders.