Creditors are about to have their say on whether cash-strapped regional carrier LIAT should go into liquidation
Almost three weeks after Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne announced the airline would be liquidated and a new airline formed, LIAT has called a meeting of the company’s creditors to discuss its wrapping up.
The meeting is scheduled to take place at LIAT’s headquarters in Coolidge, Antigua, on July 31.
In a letter dated July 16, 2020, and signed by LIAT’s Company Secretary Diane Shurland, creditors were informed that the meeting was being held to “consider the winding up of the company”.
It instructed all creditors who had claims against the company to submit them by Monday, July 27.
“A creditor entitled to attend and vote is entitled to appoint a proxy to attend and vote instead of it/him/her. A proxy need not be a member or creditor of the company,” the letter stated.
It said the names of those proxies selected had to be submitted no less than 48 hours prior to the meeting.
It was not immediately known if that meeting will still be held following the news that chairman Owen Arthur was hospitalized and is now in intensive care.
The former prime minister, 70, reportedly suffered a heart attack last night. He is said to be in stable condition.
During his liquidation announcement, Browne stressed that all of LIAT’s creditors could not be satisfied.
He said negotiations would have to take place with not only creditors but employees as well.
Browne said: “LIAT only owns three planes and those planes are charged to the Caribbean Development Bank, so clearly they have a superior claim and after they would have covered their claim there will be hardly any assets available to liquidate severance and other liabilities to staff and other creditors, so there has to be a negotiated position.
“The governments won’t be bandits and just walk away from the staff, they will have to pay some form of compassionate payments to assist them. But they have to understand that they are legally vulnerable and that they have to look at the bigger picture and to cooperate, not to become litigious and to prevent the creation of a new LIAT.”
Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT) was established in 1956 on the island of Montserrat. In 1971 Court Line Aviation of the UK acquired control and renamed the airline LIAT. Ownership of the airline was acquired by 11 Caribbean governments in 1974 and it was renamed LIAT (1974) Ltd. Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines are the four remaining shareholder governments. [email protected]