ANTIGUA-TRANSPORT-PM Browne against the use of the word 'doomed' in describing LIAT.

 
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Prime Minister Gaston Browne says he remains optimistic that Caribbean countries will ensure the survival f the financially strapped regional airline, LIAT, and called on his Barbados counterpart Mia Mottley not to use words such as 'doomed' when referring to the Antigua based airline.

Mottley had at a recent town hall meeting in Bridgetown said that the airline, which employs over 600 people and operates 491 flights weekly across 15 destinations, is 'doomed' under its current ownership and that the shareholder governments were 'not on the same page'.

The major shareholder governments are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.

The Antigua and Barbuda Parliament late last month gave the green light to government to secure a US$15.8 million loan from the Venezuela-based Banco del ALBA so as to facilitate the island's move to acquire additional shares in the cash-strapped regional airline.

Antigua and Barbuda currently holds 34 per cent of the shares in the airline and earlier this month discontinued its interest in purchasing the some of the shares owned by the Barbados government.

St. John's had sought to acquire the LIAT shares owned by Bridgetown, through a take-over of the liability of Barbados to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and would have given it 81 per cent of the airline

Browne, speaking here said that he had hoped Prime Minister Mottley would have used a better word to describe the problems facing the airline.

He said for such an eloquent speaker, and someone with a superior vocabulary, 'if I were her, I would not have utilised such an ill-fated adjective to describe the future or the fortune of LIAT.

'I remain optimistic that the leaders of this region, especially the existing four shareholders of LIAT, have the capacity to...

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