Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has defended his government’s decision to become a shareholder in the cash-strapped regional airline LIAT, saying the airline is an important contributor to Dominica’s tourism industry.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is also chairman of the airline, has been appealing to regional countries to become shareholders in the Antigua and Barbuda-based airline, whose principal shareholders are Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Skerrit told a news conference that his government would soon disclose just how much it is prepared to invest into the regional airline.
“The decision of the government of Dominica to invest in LIAT still stands. We will continue to proceed with it. We believe it is in the best interest of all the people who have invested their life earnings in the tourism industry in Dominica.
“LIAT is the only carrier that can take us from Dominica to Antigua or St. Vincent to Grenada. If we are prepared to ensure that we have transportation within the region to engender greater spirits of integration, to bring in more tourists to our island, we have to play our part with LIAT,” he said.
Skerrit said if regional governments fail to support LIAT, “you will have greater difficulty in getting the private sector to come forward.”
“LIAT is providing a public service to the region,” he said, adding that his technical team held talks with the new LIAT management and they have submitted to me as to our involvement in LIAT and that should go to the Cabinet soon for ratification,” he added.