Antigua and Barbuda’s main oppostion United Progressive Party (UPP) on Sunday reiterated that upon forming the next government, not only will LIAT workers receive their full severance, but they will also be empowered with skills training and other critical resources to reinvent themselves.
The Party said that in an uncertain economic environment, full severance obligation should be determined through negotiation, consultation and compromise.
Unlike the Gaston Browne-led ABLP administration, the UPP does not view paying LIAT workers their severance as a matter of “compassion” but a moral, legal and spiritual obligation, the UPP said in a news release.
“I stand behind my solemn promise to fully pay all the LIAT workers. We are actively looking at several options including a significant cash component that will allow them to make viable long term plans. Other practical instruments will be considered to help settle the outstanding debt. We want to ensure greater financial security for the future of these employees,” UPP Political Leader Harold Lovell said.
The UPP believes that the LIAT settlement will not only help to stimulate the economy, but will accelerate the successful transfer of skills to new sectors, as part of the UPP’s Economic Reset and Recovery Plan.
“In my meeting with the LIAT workers I found them to be reasonable and constructive in their positions. I don’t think anyone is necessarily looking for a lump sum payment. They are in search of opportunities to offset lost wages and income and to forge in a new direction, utilizing their skills and experience.”
The UPP envisions that the LIAT workers can be retrained and repositioned to fully participate in the Party’s plan to develop Antigua and Barbuda as a “Center of Aviation Excellence” and a regional logistics hub.
Lovell said, “We see the LIAT employees as a viable talent pool that has helped to build our local economy for several decades. We will integrate the legacy skills that they bring to the table to help execute our vision for the transformation of our aviation sector. This will also be an opportunity for them to reimagine their skills and capabilities and to get their lives back on track.”