The leading island hopping regional air carrier, LIAT has again received a broadside from Leader of the Opposition in Grenada, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
When he was Prime Minister of Grenada during 1995 and 2008, Dr. Mitchell opposed the Grenada Government making any financial contributions to the cash-strapped regional aircraft that was looking to regional governments for its financial viability.
In an address last Thursday night to welcome the Sandals hotel chain into Grenada, the former Prime Minister dropped hints that LIAT was seeking to blackmail the island and called on the current administration of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas to engage Caribbean Airlines in providing airlift service into the country.
“No one should be allowed to blackmail this country. No one,” he said, adding that he is extremely concerned about regional air traffic into Grenada.
His remarks came against the backdrop of LIAT’s decision to cutback on its daily services to Grenada especially on destinations to Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
The airline complained that it was losing business on these routes since passengers had lost confidence in the Grenadian market.
Speculation is rife that a prolonged go-slow action by LIAT workers at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) impacted negatively on the airline.
Dr. Mitchell said the decision of LIAT to cut flights to Grenada has not been positive for the country.
He issued a call for all concerned to speak out against the Regional Airline’s action.
The Opposition Leader said he holds the view that competition is always the best thing, urging the government to have the Trinidad based Caribbean Airlines expand its service to Grenada as fast as possible.
Dr. Mitchell said he is confident that Sandals will bring with it its enormous marketing capacity and world-wide recognition.
He spoke of the acquisition being extremely positive for Grenada, for which he said he is happy.
According to the Opposition Leader, Sandals’ entry into Grenada would not only be a positive for the property that was owned by Leon Taylor, but would enhance the opportunities for all other properties in the State of Grenada.
“Sandals presence would certainly aid the movement forward of many… properties,” he said.
Dr. Mitchell’s former New National Party (NNP) government had made several unsuccessful attempts to woo Jamaican entrepreneur Butch Stewart and his Sandals group to the island.