Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen has appealed to Grenadians to exercise a little bit of patience with government as it seeks to address inter-regional transport problem with Liat.
According to Dr. Modeste-Curwen, government is currently in talks with the island-hopping regional carrier on how the two of them can strike a balance to ensure that all parties benefit in airlift.
She said that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LIAT and some of its high level administrative staff were recently on island to discuss improvement in travel through the region.
“I had the opportunity to have conversations with (the CEO) and they are well aware in LIAT of our problems – they are well aware (of the problem on) the route especially Grenada/Barbados”, she added.
Liat has cut a number of flights from Grenada including the important early morning service from the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) to Grantley Adams International airport in Barbados.
Dr. Modeste-Curwen described this flight as “a win-win positive” one for both Grenada and Liat and as such “we are looking at a different modality as to how to operate”.
The female government minister re-iterated that Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is not opposed to putting money into Liat provide certain conditions are met.
She said: “…Our Prime Minister has repeatedly said that he has no problem as the Minister for Finance and as Prime Minister in contributing financially but it is very obvious that they have to be some improvement in terms of how LIAT operates – a more business-like approach; a more on time approach and better considerations for their clientele”.
St. Vincent, Dominica, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda are the only member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) pumping money into Liat to keep it afloat.
Speculation is rife that the four governments are using their financial powers to dictate the flight schedule of the airline.
Dr. Modeste-Curwen announced that the Grenada government will be working with LIAT to help resolve the issues at stake.
“…They do have issues but they also have committed to looking at our issues and within the next couple months. They have already started to work on some schedules”, she said.
The senior government minister said that Grenada is also looking at other airlines to fill the void created by Liat with its service to the island.
“We have not idly stood by, we have engaged other airlines – we’re talking to Caribbean Airlines. There are other smaller airlines in the region that have made proposals to us. All of these have to be carefully looked at because we must look at value for money,” she said.
“So we’re saying to the Grenadian people, do exercise patience a little longer and while we do not speak about it every time, we are continuously in conversations with those airlines, we are continuously in conversation within the airlift committee to see how we can improve on that,” she added.