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Ezine Business 2006

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BARBADOS - Business Ezine

Prime Minister Owen Arthur: attending the St Vincent meeting in good faith.

by DONNA SEALY Compliments of the Nation News September 2006

A MERGER BETWEEN regional airlines Liat and Caribbean Star would be "one of the best things that could ever happen to the Caribbean".

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's meeting with American billionaire Allen Stanford, who is proposing a merger between his airlines – Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun – and Liat, Prime Minister Owen Arthur said he would be attending the meeting in St Vincent in "good faith".

However, he said Sunday night after a branch meeting of the Barbados Labour Party's St James South constituency at West Terrace Primary School, he had not seen the proposals.

"I understand that there is to be an airline that he would be an investor in . . . If Stanford wants to be the dominant investor, that would have to be properly put; the implications of it perhaps need to be studied.

"The Government of Barbados closed Caribbean Airways.

"We don't want to contemplate a future where we don't have our own national airline . . . We would like to be able to operate in a region where we don't have to subsidise," Arthur added.

He and two of his regional counterparts, St Vincent's Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonslaves and Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda, are also expected to attend the meeting.

"You cannot build a community without communication, and one of the great difficulties about having a Caribbean Community that has a Single Market and Single Economy at its core is the impossible arrangements for communications within the sub-region and region in general," Arthur said.

"Travel is difficult, it is expensive and clearly it could make the life of the region better . . . if we could have a well-organised intra-regional airline.

"I think we will also have at some time in the future to begin to believe that rather than have a large number of bankrupt individual national and international airlines, that at some time in the future I do believe that the logic of one well-organised regional international airline may have to be looked at. There are no proposals for it at the present."

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said it was up to the government of Trinidad and Tobago to decide what to do with BWIA.


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