LIAT must go on – Gonsalves
February 28, 2020

LIAT must go on – Gonsalves

LIAT continues to be stretched for cash but there is no alternative to regional inter-island travel, so the airline must be sustained.

“We just sent some money to the kitty, but it needs a lot more money. What’s the alternative? I don’t see an alternative. There are some people who see alternatives,” Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said during a media briefing on Monday.

Gonsalves, one of the main champions of the 63-year-old airline, said he would like to see something ideal in relation to regional transport but, “I don’t see where the ideal is coming from so I have to soldier on, so that we can do something practically,” Gonsalves said.

He added that there are persons without responsibility who say LIAT should close, and some other airline would take its place, but unfortunately that is not how things work.

“I can’t do that. I can’t think like that. I cannot think like that because if I think like that it means that I am prepared to have inter island air transport grind to a halt.

“A simple thing, your mother wants to go and sell her goods in Trinidad; she goes on a LIAT plane, she sends the things on the boat, but because there is no LIAT plane she can’t trade. If she can’t trade, the farmer who she gets commodities from gotta leave the commodities in the ground.

“You know, you have somebody with an appointment to go to the embassy in Trinidad to get … a visa to go to Canada, they can’t go. Somebody has an appointment with a doctor. I mean it’s easy for people to talk,” said Gonsalves.

The Prime Minister noted that as a leader, he has a responsibility and therefore cannot just shrug his shoulders and treat the LIAT issue “like any sort of old rum shop talk”.

Gonsalves said that as the options are looked at, none are easy and while he hears a lot of theses, they are impractical.

“I hope everybody in this country realizes that in politics you have main events and you have side shows. If you’re a leader and you don’t keep your mind addressed to main events, you’ll disappoint the people,” Gonsalves commented.