Reports coming out of Bridgetown indicate that negotiations on the sale of LIAT shares between Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda have broken down.
Barbados TODAY reported yesterday, Thursday, that talks between the teams from Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados, which took place last Monday at the Hilton Hotel lasted only a few hours before stalling.
The visiting team subsequently left the island without a deal being reached, the newspaper said.
Barbados’ negotiation team was led by Attorney General Dale Marshall and also included Minister for Tourism Kerrie Symmonds and Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ian Carrington.
According to reports, the home team was not impressed with what Antigua and Barbuda brought to the negotiating table.
Meanwhile a source out of Antigua and Barbuda said it did not appear a deal would be struck anytime soon.
“The outcome so far does not reflect that the two sides are anywhere close to Barbados selling even a portion of its sales. It does not look probable for the near future,” the source added.
The source revealed that among the sticking points to Barbados selling its 49.4 per cent majority stake in LIAT was Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s insistence that Antigua and Barbuda would have to take up Barbados’ almost $100 million loan commitments.
That debt is due mainly to a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) which was used to purchase three LIAT aircraft.
Additionally, the well-placed source said Barbados’ negotiators had also asked for a guarantee from St John’s that LIAT staff in Brigdetown would not be sacrificed at the expense of staff from Antigua and Barbuda.
The source pointed out that Barbados was not fearful of LIAT pulling any of its flights from the island, as Barbados accounted for five of the six profitable routes traveled by the cash-strapped regional airline.
“Any move to pull LIAT flights out of Barbados would lead to an immediate collapse of the airline,” the source maintained.
LIAT serves 15 Caribbean destinations with almost 500 flights.