St. Kitts and Nevis has shied away from making a commitment to regional carrier LIAT, despite the airline teetering on the precipice of closure.
Several weeks ago, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris indicated that he had ordered the establishment of a commission to look into the viability of investing in LIAT. The committee is headed by the Financial Secretary Hillary Hazel.
To date, however, the committee has not publicized any findings or suggestions.
LIAT has asked St. Kitts and Nevis for a US$389,691 investment into the carrier.
The LIAT shareholders had requested Prime Minister Harris, who in 2018 said “not one red cent for LIAT,” to make a US$389,691 investment to the regional airline.
Caribbean countries were asked to contribute a total of US$5.4 million in emergency funding need to keep the airline in the sky. The four major shareholders – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines – along with Grenada, had agreed to contribute to the US$5.4 million. Barbados was expected to contribute US$1.614 million, while Antigua and Barbuda, US$960,310, Dominica, US$347,938; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, US$723,711 and Grenada, US$487,113.
Guyana and St. Lucia were asked for contributions of US$292,280 and US$584,536, respectively.
LIAT’s economic woes and looming cloud of closure has divided the CARICOM body. The general consensus is, however, there is necessity for a surefooted intraregional channel for travel.
A statement by Prime Minister Harris where he basically said “not one red cent should be invested in LIAT” has amplified the uncertainty of any investment in the airline from St. Kitts and Nevis.