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LIAT Chairman says Gonsalves is ‘champion of good causes’

LIAT Chairman says Gonsalves is ‘champion of good causes’


Chairman of the LIAT Board of Directors Dr Jean Holder regards Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves as a “champion of good causes.”{{more}}

Dr Holder made the disclosure as he spoke at the inaugural landing of LIAT’s new aircraft, the ATR 72-600 at the E.T. Joshua airport on Wednesday.

He said it was an honour for him to “stand side by side” with Gonsalves at the unveiling of the new aircraft.

“I don’t know how kind history will be to him, but I think they will remember that he championed the cause of regional air transportation, which I want to remind people, is probably, whatever anybody else may say, the most important socio-economic aspect of our lives in the Caribbean,” Holder stated.

The chairman said he was of the opinion that LIAT has a special responsibility to unite the Caribbean territories.

“I can honestly say, not because I am chairman of the LIAT airlines, but I can tell you that airlines may come and go and airlines are important, but if LIAT closes tomorrow, this region will come to a grinding halt!

“There will be more paralysis here than any doctors have ever seen,” Holder said.

“On those unfortunate days, when for one reason or the other LIAT is not functioning, between 3,000 to 4,000 people are stranded in the region,” he added.

Dr Holder indicated that there are critics who say that investing US$100 million in re-fleeting LIAT is a risky decision.

He also noted that the region’s press has been referring to LIAT as “cash strapped,” which he acknowledged.

“There is nothing truer. LIAT is cash strapped,” Holder said.

“So, we’re trying to invest US$100 million in order to provide the people of the Caribbean with the only dispensable socio-economic tool in this region.

“It’s a bit risky. Now I tell you, it is a risk with which I want to be associated. If this is an irresponsible act, put me at the head of the list,” the LIAT chairman stated.

Holder said LIAT’s management team is a determined one which will go to all lengths to ensure that the best and right decisions are made for the survival of the airline.

He said the day before the ATR 72-600 made the inaugural trip here, LIAT did not have permission to fly the plane into St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I must say the CEO (Ian Brunton) held on. He said it is to happen. It will happen and it has happened….

“In this whole world, there is a lot of ‘can’t do’. I can’t do this. I can’t do that. But these people here, these are the ‘can do’ people. And I believe, I believe that at the end of the day, a lot of people, born and unborn, will have reasons to believe that this airline which has gone for 57, I hope that when I am long gone that it will still be here and it will be expanded…”

The chairman said he has tremendous faith in LIAT airline and believes that with the support from persons such as Prime Minister Gonsalves, the airline will be around for a long time.

“I believe that with will and faith and courage like the honourable Dr Ralph Gonslaves, we will make it.

“I see the light at the tunnel and it is burning bright every day,” Dr Holder added.(AA)