Two of the region’s most respected leaders have blasted the regional air carrier LIAT . Dr. Kieth Mitchell Prime Minister of Grenada and his colleague Dr. Timothy Harris the Prime Minister of St.Kitts-Nevis both declared that regional integration cannot be achieved if passengers are unable to travel from one country to the next.
The Prime Ministers made the highly critical remarks during the opening of the 62nd summit of the OECS.
Dr Mitchell, who is the current Chairman of the OECS , said he gets severe headaches whenever he thinks about the travel time from his homeland Grenada to Dominica.
“It’s like doing some serious mathematical formula; you have to do all sorts of things and take your mind away from all the troubles and the headaches to get to Dominica. But I can take a plane at 9 o’clock in Grenada and land in Miami by 12 o’clock, no headache,” Dr Mitchell lamented while addressing other heads who gathered in Dominica for the 62nd meeting of the OECS Authority .
He said that whatever the issues are they must be solved even if it means reducing taxes on intra-regional travel.
“If more people travel, we will get less tax on one person travelling, but the multiplicity of activities will in fact increase,” Dr Mitchell said.
Meantime, Harris told the gathering that he had to charter a plane to get the St Kitts & Nevis delegation to Dominica for the meeting.
“Something better must be demanded of LIAT, whatever the views we hold, and whether or not we are shareholders. I am speaking of it, not has a shareholder, but simply as a customer who is demanding better quality service,” Harris said.
LIAT has, for years, faced a barrage of criticism about the quality of service it provides to the region.
The airline’s main shareholder governments are Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines.