Former Acting CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority (ABAA), Gatesworth James, believes LIAT’s “deficient” human re- source department is to be blamed for the company’s struggles.
James added his voice to the ongoing discourse on the regional airline during an inter- view on OBSERVER Radio Thursday morning.
“There has to be a time where the human resources department can sit down with all the different people who have grievances. Put them all on the table, see who is right or wrong, but there has to be compromise,” James said.
This comment, he said, was the opinion of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) of which he is the general secretary.
According to James, staff must be able to function in an environment where they are comfortable and satisfied so that they can put out the necessary zeal to serve customers and do their work.
He believes there is no cohesion between the finance and marketing departments of LIAT; with the marketing department being all the way in Barbados and the finance department in Antigua.
“They must work a little closer together, there is not much talking going on.” The former chairman added that LIAT’s Board of Di- rectors needs to be restructured and they have to look at the management of the company.
He explained that the Board has some deficiencies and having Members of Parliament on the Board of LIAT is not serving the purpose, particularly from Antigua and Barbuda’s point of view.
“One of the things you must do is to get rid of those MPs on board. They are too busy doing other things; they can’t devote themselves,” he said.
The DNA representative further noted that a simple so- lution to the problem is to re- place Ministers with knowledgeable individuals. The Board, James opined, should be made up of people who know about airlines, management and business, who then report to the particular Minister who has that portfolio.
LIAT’s present Board of Directors consists of: Chair- man, Dr. Jean Holder; Directors of Barbados Irvine Best, Martin Cox and Mark Maloney; Director of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Isaac Solomon; Directors of Antigua, Ministers Robin Yearwood and Lennox Weston, along with Carolyn Tonge.
Just this week, shareholder governments for the Antigua- based carrier ended a meeting here, agreeing to give further consideration to a proposal by Prime Minister Gaston Browne regarding the future direction of the airline.
Browne presented a proposal which is expected to be put in writing within a week. The proposal, according to reports, involves – among other things – a particular way to finance the retention of three planes owned by the Caribbean Development Bank in lieu of loans to the carrier for purchase of the aircraft.
There was also a suggestion that the planes be sold as part of a downsizing of LIAT, and there is general agreement among some shareholders that this is a matter which merits serious consideration.