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Shareholders meeting must be convened to stop LIAT decision

Shareholders meeting must be convened to stop LIAT decision

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Chairman of LIAT shareholders, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has declared that decisions taken at the last shareholders meeting would not have been made if they were not in the interest of the company.

Gonsalves was speaking at a press briefing this week, when he spoke on issues surrounding the regional airline carrier.{{more}}

The recent shareholders meeting, which took place in February, addressed a restructuring plan for the airline, which includes moving its base of operations from Antigua and Barbuda to Barbados and placing important hubs in some of the other islands.

This is one of the decisions that has been met with disapproval by Antiguan prime minister Gaston Browne, who called for these decisions to be put on hold, and has been publicly commenting on the issue since then.

“A company makes decisions at the level of the shareholders and they make decisions at the level of the board of directors and they make decisions at the level of management. Clearly the big decisions about restructuring of the kind we are talking about will come from the shareholders upon advisement from the management which will persuade the directors,” Gonsalves said.

The major shareholders in LIAT, listed in descending order are Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica.

“Representing the Government of Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica were their prime ministers. Representing the government of Antigua is a very experienced minister, a virtual patriarch in the Antigua Labour Party government, Robin Yearwood who has been involved in aviation issues for quite a long time. There was no dissension in relation to that decision,” said the LIAT shareholders chairman.

While he acknowledged Browne’s public comments, Gonsalves noted that the decisions cannot be put on hold unless another shareholders meeting is convened. Furthermore, the chairman noted that there has been no request from anyone for such a meeting to be called.

“I’ve received a letter about putting the decisions on hold. In the same way that I respect the good governance arrangements in St Vincent and the Grenadines, I respect good governance arrangements in a company. That’s the only way that things can be run in a proper manner. I am not saying that these decisions can’t be amended; altered if other views are brought to the table and they are meritorious in all the circumstances,” he said.

“If I didn’t feel like they were decisions which were in the interest of the company, I would have demurred at that point at the shareholders meeting and see if I can convince my colleagues of a different perspective.”(BK)

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