(Barbados Nation) PORT OF SPAIN – Barbados is so concerned about the future viability of regional carrier LIAT that it sought legal advice on whether its heavily subsidized competitor Caribbean Airlines (CAL) was following CARICOM rules.
Speaking to the media at the start of the final day of the 34th regular CARICOM Heads of Government conference at the Hilton Hotel in Port of Spain, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said with Barbados the largest shareholder in LIAT, its future was of “great concern to him”, especially in light of the fact that CAL was being subsidized by the Trinidad and Tobago government.
“Now what has happened in recent times is that against the background of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and its provisions, it has emerged that CAL has been buying its fuel at $50 per barrel, while LIAT has had to buy its fuel at upwards a $100 a barrel.
“In other words, the government of Trinidad and Tobago is subsidizing CAL for the purchase of its fuel and is competing with LIAT on regional routes. As far as we are concerned, and we have discussed it at many LIAT meetings, that is competitive behaviour and it’s against the spirit of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, and we have been engaging the government of Trinidad on that issue,” he explained.