Paramaribo – Caricom leaders have agreed on a new modern Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA) that will enable a new framework within which air transport will operate in the region, said the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent -and-the Grenadines (SVG), Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. .
He said at the press conference marking the end of the 43rd Caricom summit on Tuesday that countries, especially those in the Eastern Caribbean, and even Trinidad and Tobago were being badly affected by the loss of thousands of seats “because LIAT as it was is no longer before us”.
“You didn’t realize it while COVID-19 was on, but after COVID has receded somewhat and people are traveling again, we see the issues,” Gonsalves said.
“There has therefore been a discussion between the Prime Ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia, SVG, Barbados and Guyana, and I know that Prime Minister (Roosevelt) Skerrit of Dominica will be implicated in this matter.”
Gonsalves said that since Saint Kitts and Nevis is in “an election cycle” and was not represented at the summit which ended on Tuesday, a decision was made between those countries to address the issue of any regional air carrier.
“(This) may be the rebirth of LIAT in one form or another, but we need to get an aviation consultant in place to put the framework in place and some numbers urgently so that we can move on,” he said.
Gonsalves said he was tasked with “coordinating some things to make this happen and then we get the terms of reference for such an exercise and to have an additional conversation at the executive level.”
Gonsalves said such a meeting could possibly take place towards the end of July in SVG or Saint Lucia to move the process forward in a very practical way.