Antigua newsroom – Antigua is yet to receive a formal response from St. Vincent and the Grenadines to a request from the LIAT Administrator about a debt write off.
While it has been reported in the media that the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) will write off more than $14 million that it is owed by LIAT 1974 Ltd in Administration, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said no formal communication has been received in that regard.
At the same time, there has been no word from Barbados regarding the request.
“We have not heard formally from Prime Minister [Dr. Ralph] Gonsalves as yet but he’s given an undertaking that his government will write off the liability of $14 million of which we’re appreciative of the fact that he’s standing in solidarity with us,” Browne said.
“Because what we’re trying to do is to get these liabilities written down so that there could be some level of severance paid to the workers.
“LIAT has more than $300 million in liabilities; and the assets, which are primarily travel assets, may yield about $20 million, so if they go ahead with liquidation the staff will be lucky if they get five per cent of their outstanding severance.”
Prime Minister Browne said he is “pretty sure” that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt of Dominica will be writing off the arrears.
“We are now waiting to hear from Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the others within the region to get something definitive from them,” Browne said.
“I don’t think it’s a hard decision to make. It’s not a difficult decision to make because with liquidation they would have gotten nothing anyway so they are no worse off writing it off compared to a situation in which if we have liquidated LIAT.
“So, I don’t see any reason why anyone would want to delay or to deny the decision. So we expect a positive outcome from the other leaders within the region to include Prime Minister Mia Mottley.”
Browne said he is identifying Barbados as the single largest shareholder investor in LIAt over the years.
“In fact, they too have a number of pilots and so on who are out in the wilderness trying to figure out what’s going down, if they’re going to get any severance,” Prime Minister Browne said.
“And I don’t think the Administrator is in a position to guarantee any form of severance until such time as he would have gotten the write offs from the various member states.”
All the prime ministers should be paying the debts themselves because they allowed LIAT to trade whilst insolvent. They are little more than criminals in this matter.