By Adia Wynter
The collapse of the region’s iconic airline, LIAT, is triggering diverse reactions from the public.
Varying opinions – from jubilation to nostalgia – were shared with Observer on Thursday in regards to the long beleaguered carrier’s imminent liquidation.
The airline, though it has been an integral part of interregional travel, has been a burden, according to some.
One man, Andre Norton, said, “It’s about time, because the governments, the shareholders, have been trying… but sometimes you have to break down and reboot, and that’s what LIAT needs to get done.”
Another individual, who gave his name as ‘Browne’, made mention of the negative economic impact that he feels the airline has had over the years.
“I’ve flown on LIAT several times. I was satisfied with the service, but if we are going to lose money trying to keep it afloat, it is best we let somebody else take over,” he said.
Some also expressed grievances over the cost of tickets. “The ticket prices are too high… it’s like Mount Everest… it’s way too high,” one individual commented.
One man, Melvin Samuel, held a different opinion. He said he viewed LIAT as a necessity and believes that the decision to liquidate the airline is not one that should be made by any government or its members.
“I feel that it’s just giving up,” Samuel explained. “I think that it should be put to a vote as to whether or not the people of the Caribbean want LIAT to be liquidated… because this is for the people; LIAT is for the people.”
He said future decisions made in respect to interregional travel should be made by the Caribbean people for the Caribbean people.
Sharing similar sentiments was Cherez Williams. His view is that the move to liquidate the airline is a good one, only if the decision to do so is being made while considering the benefit of the people over the accumulation of profit.
“If it’s something to [profit] the people in this country then I’m all down for it, but if it’s not profiting us, why are we doing it in the first place?” Williams asked.
Another individual by the name of Hugh Harrigan also said he believes in the power of the people. His suggestion for the forward movement of the region with the airline’s liquidation is to have the people come together to help carve a progressive path forward.
Among the range of opinions, a common thread was hopes that a new and better airline will rise out of LIAT’s ashes.