Document Leaked Reveals LIAT Pilots Have Requested Intervention from Labour Commissioner

Captain Carl Burke, President of LIALPA

The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) in a letter dated 17 May 2017 requested the Labour Commissioner of Antigua Eltonia Rojas to intervene in the deteriorating relationship with its employer LIAT (1974).  The letter signed by President of LIALPA Carl Burke outlines 17 matters grouped under Health, Safety and other Industrial matters.

The contents of the letter is instructive because in the last 24 hours the CEO of LIAT (1974) Julie Reifer-Jones communicated to the media that she was unaware of an ultimatum of 1 June 2017 agreed with LIALPA in January 2017 to give effect to a wages agreement. It is regrettable that LIAT (1974) has been unable to fashion a constructive relationship with its key stakeholder LIALPA in the interest of the traveling public. It should be an embarrassment to the  Shareholder governments and Board of Directors the slave like conditions our pilots have had to endure.

The inability of shareholder governments- Barbados is the largest shareholder- is equally of concern because taxpayers are left to finance an entity that is clearly being mismanaged. Is it too much to request of our government that a resolution to the LIAT matter is a matter of national and regional importance?

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19 Comments on “Document Leaked Reveals LIAT Pilots Have Requested Intervention from Labour Commissioner”

  1. Artax May 23, 2017 at 6:45 AM #

    I believe it’s about time Barbados divests its majority shareholder arrangements with LIAT and leave it for Gaston Browne and Ralph Gonsalves to control and operate.

    Since Gaston Browne became Prime Minister of Antigua, he has protested against every shareholder decision. His main interest is not the financial viability or efficiency of the airline, but for the status quo to remain in favour of Antigua.

    Browne went as far as saying his government will continue to invest in LIAT despite the airline continues to make financial losses and its management is inefficient and ineffective.

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  2. David May 23, 2017 at 8:18 AM #

    @Artax

    Is your position a realistic one? Who will buy into LIAT? Does Antigua have the money even if they wanted to?

    What is your view to the position offered as a counter by successive Barbados governments that Barbados as a transfer point for LIAT adds to our through traffic at GAIA as well as tourist arrivals.

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  3. CUP/BFP Violet Beckles Plantation Deeds from 1926-2017 land tax bills and no Deeds,BLPand DLP Massive land Fruad and PONZ May 23, 2017 at 8:38 AM #

    LIAT is a money laundering business, The governments of Antigua, Barbados, and St Vincent are deep in this, No matter what these clones of CLICO do it will not work, Over the years a number of drugs and the Piolet go home, Launder money to buy more planes, to move more drugs, planes they did not need as yet, Payoff to everyone but their workers, they suck , but there is no more RED JET.

    Just like the whites laundering money in Real estate in Barbados, one big wash of money, well over priced so the Bajans can’t afford nothing, Slave in their own land, Blind Mida, DPP, police, Judges, Crime on top of crime,
    None can survive an Audit by outside governments.

    More Crooks, Liars and Scumbags

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  4. David May 23, 2017 at 9:08 AM #

    It appears prime minister Stuart of Barbados, the largest shareholder in LIAT by virtue of assuming debt, prefers to channel communication through the Chairman of the Caricom committee responsible for transport? Has the time cone for there to be a shakeup of this arrangement?

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  5. Artax May 23, 2017 at 9:24 AM #

    @ David

    Barbados’ GAIA served as a transition point for tourists, who then used LIAT, SVG Air, TIA, etc., to travel to the other islands that did not have international airports.

    The construction of Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the new V.C Bird International Airport in Antigua, for example, has put to rest “the position offered that Barbados is a transfer point for LIAT.”

    Previously, Barbados’ GAIA was one of the only international airports in this region that could accommodate aircraft the size of a Virgin Atlantic. Because of this, tourists would have to come here and then use the smaller aircrafts such as LIAT, SVG Air or TIA to transfer to the other islands where the airports were large enough to accommodate smaller aircrafts.

    Hence, there is not any need for travelers from UK, Europe, Canada, USA, etc., to come here then transfer to the other islands as was the case previously, when they could now transfer from ANU or SVD.

    If the governments of St. Lucia and Grenada have refused to invest in LIAT, but those islands could benefit from an adequate service daily, (on the backs of Barbadian tax payers) why can’t Barbados do likewise?

    Like

  6. David May 23, 2017 at 9:54 AM #

    @Artax

    Agree with you that the old offering from the Barbados government talking heads need to change -still hearing it post construction of the airports you identified.

    The last part of your comment is up for debate though, how can Barbados divest given LIAT’S enormous debt burden?

    Like

  7. Gabriel May 23, 2017 at 11:11 AM #

    There is too much secrecy and collusion on this LIAT arrangement.Barbados taxpayers ought to have access to the books of LIAT by way of the Auditor General.Our laws must be such that information to determine how tax dollars are spent is in the public domain and not in the hands of people like baloney and his co conspirators to get to make deals behind the scenes.If there is a conspiracy to grab a few LIAT planes in exchange for accumulated debt as posted on another thread,John public has to know the truth and where our paultishuns are involved either by stealth or design and who stands to benefit in the short term.

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  8. David May 24, 2017 at 6:44 AM #

    Looks like the Pilots will escalate work to rule action today. God help those travelling inter-island today.

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  9. Artax May 24, 2017 at 8:24 AM #

    Yes, David, and according to a Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) internal Memorandum, which was allegedly “leaked” to the Antiguan Observer, members were notified that, “In the event that LIAT fails to pay pilot salaries by midnight of May 24, 2017, the Executive Council will be executing a mandate received from the floor by directing protest action by all permanent pilots or full members of LIALPA.”

    The memorandum also stated: “……the action would take the form of a sit-in at various airports and possible picketing on Thursday, May 25, 2017”. The protest is expected to continue for three to four days.”

    The pilots were advised to report to work as normal; sign in to work; refrain from signing off on any flight document; and not to board any LIAT aircraft and take flight.

    “You are to remain out of view from the travelling public until further instructed by a LIALPA Executive Council Member. The Association would arrange refreshments and would be seeking to provide you with a comfortable resting area. These designated rest areas would be indicated to you in a subsequent emai.”

    However, (and fortunately???) for passengers, LIALPA instructions do not extend to pilots who are still on probation or not full members of LIALPA.

    Interesting times ahead for LIAT, already providing an inefficient and unreliable service.

    Like

  10. David May 24, 2017 at 8:37 AM #

    It appears Artax that certain players see the utility in leaking documents to ensure sides of the issues are known. We need someone to leak financials.

    Like

  11. millertheanunnaki May 24, 2017 at 10:17 AM #

    @ Artax May 24, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Artax, as a man of deep understanding of business and finance with a sound background in the discipline according to Pacioli, don’t you think that LIAT is the perfect candidate for divestment for a song or even gratis to a consortium of business people which should comprise the likes of Maloney, the Williams brothers, Simpson of SOL or even fallen magnate Leroy Greenverbs?

    Don’t the policy-makers appreciate that there can be no further economic development for Barbados or the East Caribbean region, given the massive dependence on tourism, unless there is a concomitant massive improvement in both air and ground public transportation systems.

    Why can’t these people put their business acumen, top managerial experience and successful track records to the benefit of their country and region by taking over LIAT and demonstrating to the Virgin boss Branson that Caribbean people can run things too?

    But you have the Four Seasons fiasco as proof positive of their entrepreneurial character.
    Just a bunch of parasites constantly sucking on the sore nipples of the taxpayers and whose refusal to take risks can only cast them among the riffraff of the capitalist class.

    Like

  12. Gabriel May 24, 2017 at 10:45 AM #

    Miller
    Recall the cream of the capitalist crop including Simpson,Cave,Williams and Weatherhead were involved in the failed Carib Express airline in the early 90’s and the most recent failed Redjet leaving Bizzy out by some substantial millions when it ceased operations.
    Based on reports out of Trinidad,it appears that the ferry service between POS and Tobago is being sabotaged so that both forms of transportation in the region by air and by sea seem to have horrendous costs attached.

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  13. Artax May 24, 2017 at 5:08 PM #

    millertheanunnaki May 24, 2017 at 10:17 AM #

    “…….. don’t you think that LIAT is the perfect candidate for divestment for a song or even gratis to a consortium of business people which should comprise the likes of Maloney, the Williams brothers, Simpson of SOL or even fallen magnate Leroy Greenverbs?”

    Gabriel May 24, 2017 at 10:45 AM #

    “Recall the cream of the capitalist crop including Simpson, Cave, Williams and Weatherhead were involved in the failed Carib Express airline in the early 90’s and the most recent failed Redjet leaving Bizzy out by some substantial millions when it ceased operations.”

    @ Miller & Gabriel

    Gabriel’s above comment satisfactorily answers Miller’s question.

    But surely both gentlemen should be observant enough to identify certain specific similarities relative to Carib (Air) Express and REDJet.

    Ironically, Barbados was the operational base for Carib Express Airlines (CEA) and REDJet (RJ). CEA began its operating in Barbados during February 1995 without any significant difficulties. REDjet was incorporated in Barbados after its initial intension to register as a Jamaican company was rejected.

    Regional politics and a desire for the airline industry’s status quo to remain in favour of Trinidad & Tobago and Antigua were primarily responsible for the demise of both airlines.

    LIAT’s “operational environment,” is characterized by high regional airport taxes; new aircrafts servicing short haul routes within a high cycle operation; political interference; a Board of Directors & Executive Management team that do not have the requisite professional experience in the aviation industry and incurring loses

    Additionally, the Caribbean has an abysmal air transport track record, as evidenced by the demise of airlines such as Air Jamaica, Carib Express, Caribbean Star, Caribbean Sun and REDJet.

    These factors would not encourage private sector investment in LIAT.

    The government of Antigua & Barbuda has to plead guilty to charges of political interference. Since becoming PM of Antigua, Gaston Browne has protested against every suggestion made by the shareholder governments. Perhaps Browne’s main focus may not on the financial viability and efficiency of LIAT. His desire for the status quo to remain as is may be fueled by his political obligation to protect the over 500 nationals of Antigua & Barbuda employed by LIAT.

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  14. David May 24, 2017 at 5:15 PM #

    It begs the question the logic the Caribbean Development Bank used to finance the ATR fleet.

    Like

  15. Gabriel May 24, 2017 at 5:44 PM #

    Artax
    I recall the failure of Carib was more to do with its top heaviness and it’s very expensive start up costs.The airline had a sizable quota of foreign nationals in the cockpit and almost everybody had a company car.If memory serves me well I think I read somewhere that that small carrier had 42 company maintained cars for its top heavy staff.Besides which the BAE 146 was a pure jet aircraft operating on short hauls and its fuel consumption was very high.
    Red jet had a good opportunity to make a good mark.It was unfortunate that it started up when a new government was in office.The new PM was out of his league and instead of engaging proper advisers in this specialty area,it was left to the line Minister to stumble from one delayed decision to another.Redjet was making its presence felt and the then Minister of aviation was asleep at the wheel.

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  16. Artax May 24, 2017 at 7:41 PM #

    You cannot view the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) as you would an ordinary commercial bank, because the objectives and operating principles are different.

    According to Article 1 of CDB’s Charter: “The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) was established for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of the member countries in the Caribbean and promoting economic cooperation and integration among them, having special and urgent regard to the needs of the less developed members of the region.”

    Hence, the Bank is more concerned with pursuing harmonious regional integration and the systematic reduction of poverty through social & economic development.

    You also have to take into consideration that CDB is a regional institution comprising of 21 regional and 5 non-regional territories. LIAT is also a regional organization with shareholders that are also members of the CDB.

    Recall during the 1970s, CDB’s STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE, as it related to air transport, was “strengthening regional integration within the Caribbean through the development of transport links.”
    During that period, LIAT would have benefited from a CDB loan, collateralized by regional governments, and under conditions that were consistent with the Bank’s specific objective at the time.

    On Friday, July 19, 2013 a statement from LIAT indicated a CDB loan of US$65M “was approved on Thursday, July 18, to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica will assist with the purchase of aircraft in the context of a fleet modernization project.”

    It is important to note that the CDB loan was NOT provided to LIAT, but to the four (4) shareholder governments of LIAT and under circumstances which were consistent with the Bank’s strategic objective, indicated by LIAT’s statement as follows:

    “This project is CONSISTENT with CDB’s STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE of supporting regional cooperation and integration and contributes to CDB’s overall mandate of reducing poverty in the region through social and economic development.”

    Therefore, under these circumstances, one cannot “question the logic the logic the Caribbean Development Bank used to finance the ATR fleet.”

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  17. Artax May 24, 2017 at 8:25 PM #

    Gabriel May 24, 2017 at 5:44 PM #

    I’m not privy to the information reveled in your 5:44pm comments and the reasons given may have assisted in the demise of Carib Express. However, I read documents in which there were references of people with stories of the unbelievably free-flowing spending habits of CE’s management, SpeedWing.

    Otherwise, my opinions are based on information I researched on the issue.

    The demise of Carib Express and REDjet also caused me to research other “Barbadian” airlines that “failed,” such as Air Calypso, Tropic Air, Caribbean Airways, CariCargo, Carib West Airways and Aero Services (which I believe is now known as Trans Island Air and is not presently registered in Barbados).

    Like

  18. Gabriel May 24, 2017 at 8:45 PM #

    Artax
    The information is public knowledge compliments of the Nation Newspapers and the Advocate.I like most am fascinated with aeroplanes and read quite a bit on them.Even now is if I’m driving along highway 7 and see an aircraft taxying for take off,I get to a location where I can watch the take off.I had a radio which allowed me to listen to the Control Tower and the cockpit crew.With the net it is now possible to listen to most Control Towers worldwide,so I can listen to an aircraft landing in an airport in Japan.The net is amazing.
    The BAE 146 has 4 repeat 4,jet engines.Think of that and the short distances between our islands and add flying over the Caribbean Sea constantly and how that would affect those engines.At the outset,they should have known it was too costly to fly those aircraft.Most regional carriers are propeller driven.

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