Prime Minister Gaston Browne has rejected as “inequitable” talk that Antigua & Barbuda alone should bear the cost of severance payments of all of the workers based here.

The majority of LIAT employees are based in Antigua & Barbuda, in excess of 300 of them.

Prime Minister Browne told parliament over the weekend that this could see the country paying close to $80 million dollars in severance.

St. Vincent Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said one suggestion is for each shareholder government to bear the cost of its employees.

This would mean that St. Vincent would be just about $2 million and Barbados about $17 million with Antigua & Barbuda paying nearly 80 million.

Browne said any decision on severance payments should be based on shareholding, with Barbados being the majority shareholder of LIAT.

He said the employees in Antigua served the entire region and not just Antigua.

A meeting has been scheduled for July 31st to discuss winding up of LIAT. Government’s Chief of Staff Lionel Max Hurst said another meeting to discuss an alternative to the liquidation of LIAT was cancelled on Monday and has not been rescheduled.

(Source: Antigua News Room)

2 COMMENTS

  1. No shareholder government is legally responsible for payments to workers. In fact it is illegal to pay anyone in preference to other creditors, some of who are preferential.

    All payments are the responsibility of the Receiver/Liquidator/Administrator. I doubt there will be anything left for the wages and severance to employees.

    Payment can only be made to employees by governments after the final liquidated payments to all the other creditors some of who are preferential. All payments will be on a non compulsory basis and governments can pay as much or as little as the decide to do, these payments will be nothing to do with the liquidator but employees will have to wait, perhaps for years for the final liquidation of LIAT. To pay employees by a shareholder government before the liquidation is complete and finished will be deemed giving them a pecuniary advantage over other and preferential shareholder and may well be a criminal offence.

    There is no legal responsibility for governments to pay employees wages, salaries, or severance. But employees may have a case against the directors and shareholders due to them trading when knowingly insolvent. If a court agrees and makes an order then the shareolder’s will be able to pay the employees sooner than waiting for the final liquidation.

  2. Further if payment is made via a court order it will benefit Antigua and Barbuda because it may be applied based on amount of shareholding. It cannot be right that any country should be responsible for more than another based on number of employees in a particular country, LIAT served all the shareholder countries and more influence on directors to continue trading whilst insolvent must have come via Ralph Gonsalves the shareholder chairman, the mouth.

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