|Guyana will not contribute to regional airline, says president|
|Published on Thursday, July 5, 2007||Email To Friend Print Version|
|GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA): Guyana will not be offering any financial support to financially-troubled regional airline Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT), according to Guyanese Head of State President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Asked about the possibility of taking away the competition in the Regional air market, the Head of State said he is against any form of monopoly and will not prevent competition to LIAT.
He contends that any efficient airline should be able to face competition and come out on top, adding that Guyana’s policy is one of an open sky.
His comments came amidst insistence by Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves that governments, apart from the present shareholders, contribute to regional airline LIAT at the formal opening ceremony of the meeting of Heads of Government in Barbados.
In his address to more than 350 people in the courtyard of the historical Parliament Buildings, Gonsalves, the outgoing CARICOM Chairman raised an old complaint that too few CARICOM governments had invested in the airline.
"All I’m asking for is an engagement with everybody and let us have something which is sustainable. Now if anybody can prove to me that that approach is wrong well then I’m open to be convinced," Gonsalves told regional journalists after the first business session of the Summit.
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister said Heads have all agreed in principle to support LIAT’s restructuring and the Caribbean Development Bank is likely to inject $60 million in assistance.
At present Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines are the only CARICOM States bearing the burden of LIAT’s maintenance.
A follow-up meeting will be held to resolve issues regarding the pending support for the Regional carrier.