PETITION FROM THE TRAVELLING PUBLIC TO THE OWNERS OF THE CARIBBEAN AIRLINE LIAT
This petition had 360 supporters
The only people who are able to implement major changes at LIAT are the Prime Ministers who represent the shareholder countries on the matter of LIAT.
Unless these specific people are moved to make changes, then changes will not happen, it's really that simple. The Chairman reports directly to the Prime Ministers, NOT to any Ministers below him.
This Petition is an attempt to move those Prime Ministers, DIRECTLY, to make the necessary changes, as outlined below. The Chairman is himself part of the changes requested.
** TO THE READERS **
IF YOU READ, BUT WILL NOT SIGN, THIS PETITION then you will have no argument at any time in the future if and when you, your friends or loved ones are inconvenienced or abandoned by LIAT... because in your refusal to protest you have (by default) accepted - even approve of - the way LIAT has been, is being, and will be operated.
With few exceptions, the Caribbean region where LIAT operates exists under the 60-year-old Geneva Convention, which is thoroughly outdated and provides few practical recourses and almost no compensation for disrupted travel or missing baggage, and except for "goodwill" LIAT is not obligated by law to provide or pay anything at all unless there is a lengthy court action where the proof required to win a case may not even exist in today's travel environment.
So, if you agree, please sign the petition - you have nothing to lose, and a great deal to gain.
WHEREAS the eastern Caribbean airline LIAT has lost large sums of taxpayer money almost every year since becoming a regionally owned carrier almost 40 years ago, and
WHEREAS one way or another LIAT continues to absorb and/or lose large sums of money and needs to be supported by the taxpayers and travelling public in multiple islands, and
WHEREAS the majority of passengers using LIAT are regional citizens who rely on the airline for inter-island travel for trade, business, cargo, small packages, medical services, visas, education, family, friends, festivals and more, and
WHEREAS the eastern Caribbean shareholders of LIAT continue decade after decade to appoint Board Members and management for political reasons who are clearly proven to be eminently unsuitable and unqualified, and
WHEREAS the eastern Caribbean airline LIAT has just experienced a two-month "meltdown" inconveniencing thousands of local and regional citizens and foreign visitors by reason of incompetence of and lack of foresight by both Board and upper management, and
WHEREAS it is pellucidly clear to everyone in the eastern Caribbean that the current status quo of the direction and management of LIAT cannot - and MUST NOT - continue,
BE IT THEREFORE RECORDED that we, the undersigned, call on the primary shareholder Prime Ministers and governments of LIAT – ie: Hon. Freundel Stuart of Barbados; Dr. Hon. Baldwin Spencer of Antigua; Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica and Dr. Hon. Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia - to perform the following actions forthwith:
1. To REMOVE the current Chairman, Board and top management of LIAT forthwith (the one exception being Gatesworth James of Antigua, who has current knowledge and experience in aviation), and
2. To CHANGE the future quality and qualifications of individuals they appoint as Board Members, AWAY FROM local political appointees AND TO local and/or regional citizens - residing locally or abroad - who have intimate knowledge and/or recent experience about airlines and aviation, such that the Board in totality produces and provides a BROAD, VALID AND PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGEBASE with which to guide the airline to profitability and efficiency, and
3. To REQUIRE, from this day on, that each Board Member (including the Chairman) and members of the upper management of LIAT travel at least 600 miles (about 3 hours) on the airline's network, at least once a month - but preferably more frequently - so that they may experience and view first hand what passengers and staff of the airline experience and view every day and seek to correct it before major problems occur, and
4. To INSIST that all processes and procedures in the airline be reviewed annually by management and/or regional consultants to streamline or eliminate unnecessary bottlenecks, blocks and annoyances from the running of the airline and processing of its passengers, and
5. To REDUCE AND/OR REMOVE all airport, airline and passenger travel taxes, fees and charges imposed by the shareholder governments, to set the example others may follow so that regional aviation may have yet another impediment removed from ease of movement among CARICOM nations – as is publicly postulated as part of the regional political will.
To see for yourself a stream of current and past newspaper articles from the last five years (with links to the originals) see this web site - Caribbean Regional Aviation Network - which is focused on Caribbean aviation - the link provided above is just to the LIAT Board.
February 11, 2014 -
Based on two numbers I found in a Barbados Government report on the internet – the cost of LIAT to Barbados for the two years 2011 and 2012 – and that percentage increase as an average, plus the percentage shareholdings of the various governments, here are my own interpolated calculations…
– For the year 2014, in millions
Total US$122 – EC$329 – BD$244
Barbados US$62 – BD$124
Antigua US$38 – EC$103
St. Vincent US$14 – EC$38
Dominica US$1 – EC$3
– For 5 years 2014-2018, in millions
Total US$686 – EC$1,853 – BD$1,373
Barbados US$345 – BD$690
Antigua US$211 – EC$570
St. Vincent US$81 – EC$218
Dominica US$7 – EC$19
IN THE TOTAL ABSENCE OF ANY ACCOUNTS WHATSOEVER FOR THIS REGIONAL PUBLIC COMPANY OWNED BY TAXPAYERS my calculations suggest that in fact LIAT is bleeding all of us by an average of US$138 million a year over the next five years – or EC$370 million, more than NINE TIMES Mr. Letang’s estimate.
As above, I also calculate that in the next five years (if there are no changes to the trend) we will all contribute some US$686 million – or EC$1.8 BILLION to keep LIAT flying. In the next six years LIAT’s total cost to the eastern Caribbean will approach a Billion US dollars.
Remember, we are ALSO paying foreign carriers hundreds of millions of US dollars in guarantees for their seats.
Allow me to point out that this is not in any way associated with improvement, additions, modifications or change. This is nothiong to do with LIAT’s recent fleeting, loans and screw-ups. This is JUST TO KEEP LIAT IN THE AIR.
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