The Barbados government is hoping to begin negotiations with Antigua and Barbuda soon over the sale of its shares in the cash strapped regional airline, LIAT, Attorney General, Dale Marshall has said.
“Negotiations have not commenced yet. We indicated to LIAT dates that were convenient for us a few weeks back and they didn’t respond.
“We’re now trying to see if we can get those negotiations commenced next week. We’ve sent another communication to LIAT to say that we’re available next week and next weekend and we can jump right into it and we’re once more waiting for them to respond to say whether it can be accommodated or not,” Marshall told reporters.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mia Mottley formally announced plans to sell its shares in the Antigua-based LIAT, but insisted that it was committed to regional transportation and would continue to hold minimum shares in the carrier.
Barbados along with Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the main shareholders of the airline that employs over 600 people and operates 491 flights weekly across 15 destinations.
Last month, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said he had received communication from Barbados indicating that Bridgetown was willing to sell all but 10 per cent of its shares in the airline.
Antigua and Barbuda currently holds 34 per cent of the shares and if it succeeds in convincing Bridgetown to part with its LIAT shares, would have 81 per cent of the airline.
St. John’s said it would seek to acquire the LIAT shares owned by Barbados, through a take-over of the liability of Barbados to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).”
Marshall said he was hopeful he would be able to meet with authorities from Antigua and Barbuda before the start of next month’s 40th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government to be held in St. Lucia.
“We’re hoping that before the Heads’ conference, July 3 to 6 that the negotiations would have begun in earnest,” he added.