Posted on

An open letter to Dr. Ralph Gonsalves


Dear Prime Minister,

A recent report suggested there was much enthusiasm surrounding your move to sell controlling interest in LIAT to Allen Stanford. I urge you to approach this matter carefully.

It is a fact Caribbean Sun and Caribbean Star are owned by the Stanford Group. It is a fact that the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority is now in Category One status under the US Federal Aviation Administration’s International Aviation Safety Audit Programme. These facts make it entirely logical for Caribbean Sun and Caribbean Star to enter into a code sharing agreement to their benefit. Why is it necessary to be merging Caribbean Star and LIAT? Would an alliance with LIAT as Code Sharing partner not be more practical?{{more}}

With LIAT in the hands of Stanford, how long before travel in our own economic bloc will be at the mercy of the Texan? With a virtual monopoly in private hands, what will guarantee the sustainability and affordability of our primary form of Regional travel? Will CARICOM be able to dictate the degree to which air transport is developed to support CSME? Mr. Prime Minister, I urge you to find another answer to the LIAT woes. Caribbean travelers need seamless travel. There should be no need to transfer our own bags every time we change airlines or to buy separate tickets for each airline within CARICOM. The solution is a merger/alliance of all airlines owned by CARICOM States.

The State builds highways and other infrastructure to promote development. The highway in CARICOM is our runways. Without affordable infrastructure, development will be impeded; CSME could be retarded. It is time to set up code-sharing agreements between CARICOM airlines; to seek fleet commonality for reduced cost of maintenance, training and inventory management; to run efficient and safe low cost operations optimising flight schedules and routing; to have one Regional Civil Aviation Authority and a common set of Civil Aviation Regulations. We need separate ministries responsible for aviation lest we fall prey to our collective lack of wisdom on this matter.


Concerned CARICOM Citizen