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No official word on LIAT from Sir Richard C.N. Branson received- Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves

- in response to reports out of Antigua that the British billionaire & VI Belonger had an interest in investing in the cash-strapped airline
Chairman of the LIAT shareholder governments and Primer Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves, right, said he has received no formal expression of interest from British billionaire and [British] Virgin Islands Belonger Sir Richard C. N. Branson, left, about investing in LIAT. Photo: Internet Source
Caribbean airline LIAT is in urgent need of a cash injection of at least US $5 million to remain in operation. Photo: Prensa Latina
Caribbean airline LIAT is in urgent need of a cash injection of at least US $5 million to remain in operation. Photo: Prensa Latina
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent & The Grenadines- On the heel of reports that British billionaire and [British] Virgin Islands Belonger Sir Richard C. N. Branson has expressed an interest in investing in the cash strapped regional airline, LIAT, Chairman of the LIAT shareholder governments and Primer Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves says he has received no formal expression of interest.

Chief of Staff within the Office of the Prime Minister in Antigua and Barbuda, Lionel Hurst told reporters following a Cabinet meeting on May 2, 2019 that the Virgin Group Founder, Branson, had proposed investing several million dollars to “wet lease several aircraft.”

“They would fly from Fort Lauderdale [Florida], to Jamaica, Haiti and down into Antigua and Barbados. The whole idea is to enlarge LIAT, rather than collapse LIAT or making it a smaller entity,” Mr Hurst had stated.

According to Hurst, discussions held with the British business magnate, investor and philanthropist involved growing the struggling air- line out of its situation, with the hope that it would become a profit-making enterprise.

“He [Branson] is not going to plow his resources into a smaller LIAT that would not be able to achieve a profitable status. There just is not [enough] passengers and other kinds of possibilities to make LIAT profitable within the Caribbean,” he said.

‘I don’t know anything official’- Dr Gonsalves     

However, Prime Minister Gonsalves told a radio station in St Vincent on Tuesday May 7, 2019 that he knew nothing about Mr Branson having an interest in LIAT.

“As the chairman of the shareholders, I have not been made aware of that; nobody has contacted me about that,” he said. “Whether Branson said so in an off-hand way or in a serious manner, I don’t know … I don’t usually jump like that when rich people make a suggestion until I see something really meaningful,” he said.

The Prime Minister noted that LIAT had in the past explored the idea of expanding to other destinations, but that had been put on hold because the airline was struggling with its main markets.

“You may well have to expand to make some more money. And if you are expanding to make more money, you might need to find a partner in the jet service area, but I’m not giving legs to what you and I have read about what the minister from Antigua said with relation to Sir Richard Branson, because I don’t know anything official,” Dr Gonsalves said.

3 Responses to “No official word on LIAT from Sir Richard C.N. Branson received- Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves”

  • insider (10/05/2019, 18:09) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    The post with SRB and the LIAT was done as wishful thinking! RB wasn’t aware of this until he was notified. Virgin Caribbean would be a great fit.
  • 7.2m (10/05/2019, 21:09) Like (3) Dislike (7) Reply
    Tell Andrew Fahie to buy liat
  • Quiet Warrior (11/05/2019, 09:35) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is dysfunctional. The LIAT organization must speak with one voice. There is a failure to communicate; there is a communication breakdown. Lionel “Max” Hurst, a representative for Antigua a major shareholder, is saying one thing while Dr Gonzalez, chairman of LIAT shareholders and a representative of St. Vincent and Grenadines another a major shareholder, is saying something else and seemed to be in the dark. Common on people get your act together. First start with some communication discipline. If Sir Richard Branson is interested in investing in LIAT, bring him to the table and have some serious discussions. And if his interest is just a rumor, move on and get this thing fix.


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