St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, has criticized the poor service offered by InterCaribbean Airways, which is based in Turks and Caicos. He is now waiting for documents related to a new LIAT.
InterCaribbean passengers have complained about long delays, with some missing international connections, and have had to pay thousands of dollars for new tickets due to delayed or canceled flights.
One passenger, Arlene John, complained that the airline needs to go out of business due to its unprofessionalism and lack of communication with customers.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is working on a new LIAT, which is expected to start soon.
LIAT Limited went into administration in July 2020 after facing debt issues and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gonsalves has urged Caribbean leaders to support LIAT in the past and suggested that they put money into the airline.
He has also criticized those who previously opposed LIAT, saying they are now apologizing.
Gonsalves said Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne had sent two of his officials to talk to him “about an initiative which he was having but I was suggesting that we don’t need to have these initiatives at cross purposes.
“There can be initiatives together and I raised some issues also with them…When men and women getting a free ride, they ain’t paying you attention and in St Vincent and the Grenadines, I talk, talk, talk, talk to people and then you had a lot of persons who not studying the thing carefully, ‘Oh, Ralph putting too much money in LIAT’ and so on,” he said
Gonsalves informed Prime Minister Browne that Kingstown and St. John’s could not shoulder the burden of supporting LIAT when Barbados decided it could no longer invest for fiscal reasons.
He said the “funny thing” about it is that there were people here, including in Parliament, “the opposition beated me, beated me all the time. ‘What you doing, you wasting government money.
“You heard all the know-alls on the radio and so on. Now, of course, they are apologising. Not those in the NDP (New Democratic Party). Other people saying, ‘I am sorry; we didn’t understand it that way’ …
“I have dedicated my life to this region and this country. I am not going to talk to people anything which I consider to be wrong or false or anything like that as regards public policy. I come straight with you and explain to you, just as I do with the NIS (National Insurance Services),” Gonsalves said.
According to him, LIAT used to have a daily flight frequency of six or seven to St. Vincent, which would sometimes increase to eight or nine during peak periods like Carnival or Christmas.