Editorial Staff
3 months ago

Editorial Staff
3 months ago

PM tells ex-LIAT staff to take or leave severance as liquidation looms.

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The future of former LIAT workers remains uncertain as LIAT 1974 is expected to be liquidated in the coming months.

The Antigua and Barbuda government has offered ‘compassionate payments’ to the former employees who have been seeking severance since LIAT’s collapse in 2020.

However, Prime Minister Gaston Browne has once again reiterated that the workers have to ‘take it or leave it’ in regard to the offered payments.

“In this particular case, the monies that we will pay for the planes, which will be about 12 million dollars, the monies will be paid into the Caribbean Development Bank to reduce the debt on those claims,” he explained on Point FM Saturday

The outstanding debt is about three times the amount of the value of the planes, so there will be no surplus toward paying severance

“This is why we said we said we would do a compassionate payment. It will not remain forever,” he cautioned.

Browne said the Antigua and Barbuda government will honor its 32% commitment with the hopes that the other shareholder governments, would cover the balance

The government has stated that the liquidation of LIAT 1974 would create a seamless transition into the new entity, LIAT 2020, which is on track to begin operations.

The new airline will be primarily funded by Nigerian carrier Air Peace and its CEO, Allen Onyema, who will have a 70 percent shareholding in the new enterprise, with the government of Antigua and Barbuda holding the remaining 30 percent.

Several regional governments have also expressed interest in being a part of the new company, although the exact share percentage has not been determined yet.

In Parliament last week, the Prime Minister stated that the new entity will start purchasing assets from the defunct company shortly after LIAT 1974 has been officially liquidated.

The Prime Minister further added in an interview last week that once they have finished paying for those assets, there will be nothing left for severance.

According to him, the money paid for the planes, which will be about 12 to 13 million US dollars, will be paid into the Caribbean Development Bank to reduce the debt on those planes.

The outstanding debt is at least three times the amount of the value of those planes, so there will be no surplus to go towards paying severance.

The government has also lowered the amount on the table, reducing the compassionate payment from 50 percent to 32 percent, based on the percentage of shares that the Antigua and Barbuda government held in LIAT.

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