Freedom Of Movement In The Skies A Plus For The Region

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Any competition between Redjet and LIAT should be seen as good for business and part and parcel of the right to freedom of movement as enshrined in the Treaty of Chaguaramas.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart emphasised this point today as he spoke with a section of the media at the conclusion of the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which was held in St. Kitts and Nevis.

In relation to the ongoing issue of regional transportation and competition between Redjet and Liat, Mr. Stuart maintained that the presence of a new airline in the market did not "mean any overnight diminution of LIAT’s patronage".

He added: "LIAT does about 1,000 flights a week across the region to over 20 countries and that is going to continue. Barbados is the largest shareholder in LIAT and, therefore, would have no vested interested in seeing LIAT’s interest undermined. And, of course, LIAT has seen many airlines come and go and has remained fixed as the northern star. So, yes there would be some competition… People build up very strong relationships, very strong allegiances, and no matter who comes and what they are offering people go with whom they feel comfortable with."

However, the Prime Minister disclosed that further discussion on the matter would continue among leaders who have an interest in LIAT. He stressed "the important thing… is that there is a freedom of the skies regime in CARICOM and it should be respected. People should be given the right to succeed or fail, and that is what we are doing".

The next regular meeting of the Heads of Government of CARICOM will take place in St. Lucia in July 2012. They will convene an inter-sessional caucus four months prior in Suriname.

clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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