CEO Of LIAT Proves Barbados Tourism Minister A Liar… (yawn, not again?)

Good old Adrian Loveridge posted the below comment early Monday morning.

Before we get to Adrian’s comment, jog our memories for us… didn’t Barbados Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch just promise that airfares were coming down soon?

Oh yes… now I remember. Lynch said that only yesterday…

“(Tourism Minister Lynch) said the local tourism partners met with LIAT on Friday and a drop in prices was expected.” Quoted yesterday, June 24, 2007 – The Nation News

Take it away, Adrian…

Well you heard it on the news (StarCom 7.30am today).

Mark Darby, CEO of LIAT stating that airfares CANNOT come down without (further) Government subsidies!

What the heck has the taxpayer been doing for years?

$40 million (check if thats BDS$ or US$) from the Barbadian taxpaper alone according to the Prime Minister.

Never mind the 62 employees per aircraft.

My thoughts are not a cent more, Mr Darby, until we see a credible business plan.

Its almost back to a monopoly and we all know from bitter previous experience what that means.

High airfares.
Take it or leave it service.
Delays.

Its over to you Minister Lynch, before you allow Intra Caribbean tourism to become an extinct species!

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42 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

42 responses to “CEO Of LIAT Proves Barbados Tourism Minister A Liar… (yawn, not again?)

  1. J. Payne

    Well if one government in CARICOM is having integrity problems. And the other heads overlooking it. It wont be long until others follow suit and or their state sponsored companies.

  2. Integrity?

    What island-government would that be, J.P.?

    no…I’ll make it easy on you…
    name the ones that don’t have integrity problems.
    That would be a much shorter list, easier to compile.

  3. ??

    I too was shocked to hear Mr Darby on the 7:30am news. I agree with Adrian L on this 100% who does Mr Darby think has been supporting LIAT over the years….. we await Minister Lynches reply.

  4. Zulu

    ??
    What reply? From whom? Yah caan exspec Brer Liar to come out an’ say sumting.
    We all know Lynch to be a pathological liar.
    We want Owen to call elections NOW. Yhat is the only way that we will get rid of this lot.

  5. Kelly

    Mark Darby is from England and does not carry about the Caribbean. He has embarrassed the Governments of the Caribbean and should be fired and sent back to England.

    If he was black and from the Caribbean like me, he would have been sent packing long time.

    But we like people with an accent who do not have our interest at heart.

  6. Wishing in Vain

    It certainly appears that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.
    MM Lynch once again opens his mouth and blabbers nonsense and Darby and Jean Holder hold forth and they are saying the complete opposite to the idiot Lynch.
    Anyone think that he may say something honest and sensible for once in his life or does he not know how to do that because as he said on brass tacks he is poor black boy that people are trying to take advantage of.

  7. Warrior

    Barney Lynch has been diagnosed with the Foot in Mouth Disease.

  8. crossroads

    zulu, get rid of one lot and replace with who? Out of de frying pan and into the fire. We need not just a party change, we need a stronger opposition. My fear is that, if the there is a full swing to the other party and again no strong opposition, we will be right back where we started.

  9. Zulu

    Crossroads
    I disagree.
    Here’s why. Wilth this tiefing lot no other party can afford to come and it be business as usual. The electorate will be watching and furthermore, the opposition has said that they will be looking at transparency, integrity and other things. I say that we give them the opportunity to make good on their word. Don’t shoot them down b4 they have tried.
    In any case, there won’t be anything to tief when Owen and his gang are gone. Nothing left to sell off to pay bills.

  10. Zulu

    MM Lynch has a way with words and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he should say that he never said that airfares will drop. He may argue that he was misquoted. That nasty good-for-nothing liar.

  11. Wishing in Vain

    MM Lynch could not organise a drink up in brewery if he tried.
    A blundering jack as a complete waste of space and effort.

  12. Adrian Loveridge

    Interesting article in St. Lucia Star today headlined

    ‘Barbados tourism minister says St. Lucia selfish on air transport’

    Selfish or careful with the taxpayers monies?

  13. Peltdown Man

    Adrian
    Say St Vincent followed suit with American Eagle, then Grenada, then what? Do you really think that intra-regional travel will improve? I don’t think so. LIAT will be under even more financial pressure, and without subventions from the two countries mentioned above plus St Lucia, it could fold. Don’t think that they’ll be lining up to take its place, because most airline experts (excepting yourself, of course) know that it is financial suicide to try and operate an intra-regional carrier in the Caribbean.

  14. Peltdown Man

    I would go on to say that St Lucia IS being selfish in this regard. It is akin to what happened over cruise ship head tax, with countries backraising all over the place. So much for Caribbean unity, so much for CSME. These things are great so long as they suit us, but we dump them if and when we find it convenient. We need a regional carrier, and I have no problem with holding them accountable, but when governments themselves don’t even feel accountable, what chance do we have in keeping LIAT’s finances under scrutiny? Fares will not come down in the face of existing costs. Period. Mark Darby is just being honest. One of the few people around this mess who is.

  15. Rumplestilskin

    Dayyy-OO, dayyy-ooo,
    here ah come on de banana boat

    Ah trav-ellin all night on a bunk
    To go to Gren-ada, T&T, Ant-igua

    Dayy-O, Dayy ay ay OOOhhh

    Early at de port, for de boat to come
    Watch it o’er de hor-izon

    Carry my peas an rice and a mauby or rum,
    My own pillow an’ blanket to lie-down

    Day-OO., day ay ay Ohhhh,

    De banana boat re-place de plane
    I travelling intra-island in de sun

    Unless I get a down under bunk
    I travelling like a ole time monk

    Day-ooo, ay ay ay Ohhhh

    Banana boat intra-island is fun
    Leeward Island Amphibious Transport in de sun!

    It CHEAP!

  16. Paradox

    Deear Masses,
    If I am in charge I am right. I must know because I am in charge; so it is true. If you disagree, you are disagreeing with the ‘charge’,which you might repent. Let me make this clear ! What I say is gospel and you don’t question my judgement.
    My Party is incharge and you don’t question that either!
    We speak no lie, we say no evil, we speak according to ‘our’ comandments.
    Thou shall not lie; thou shall not steal; thou shall do the things we say you should, because we are in charge. That’s ‘the gospel’ according to the >>>.

  17. BK

    Peltdown Man
    June 25th, 2007 at 9:39 pm
    I would go on to say that St Lucia IS being selfish in this regard. It is akin to what happened over cruise ship head tax, with countries backraising all over the place. So much for Caribbean unity, so much for CSME. These things are great so long as they suit us, but we dump them if and when we find it convenient. We need a regional carrier, and I have no problem with holding them accountable, but when governments themselves don’t even feel accountable, what chance do we have in keeping LIAT’s finances under scrutiny? Fares will not come down in the face of existing costs. Period. Mark Darby is just being honest. One of the few people around this mess who is.
    —————————————————————-
    Peltdownman

    I don’t know man. The Minister of Tourism of St.Lucia is not an idiot and understands the tourism business and the players quite well. It is my guess that Chastenet has said enough is enough and by his action of allowing Eagle to fly into St.Lucia, he maybe pushing this LIAT issue to a head.

  18. Adrian Loveridge

    Peltdown Man…

    I do not question Mark Darby’s honesty, but I sincerely believe we can have a properly run, commercially driven, quality intra Caribbean airline.

    I personally, have to be persuaded LIAT have a credible plan for recovery.

    It has been so easy since 1974, just to hold out their hands to Governments for a seemingly inexhaustible supply of taxpayers monies.

    You surely cannot deny that competition drives
    better service, ontime flights, attractive fares etc, etc.

    Airlines like American THINK about their business. A good example is their frequent flyer programme, 26 years old and 50 million members and more recently a new section to their website, price and schedule.

    They saw additional competion coming and placed an additional portal on http://www.aa.com to enable travellers to book lower cost options.
    So when Air Jamaica introduced a cheaper fare out of Fort Lauderdale, they were already prepared to match fares on MIA and other Florida
    airports.

    ‘Our’ Goverment will have to decide what it wants in terms of long stay visitor arrivals.

    We have already lost significant US arrivals this year.
    Our third largest market (the Caribbean) is in severe danger. For EVERY single intra Caribbean travellers we lose, there is a direct loss of US$128 in VAT revenue alone to Government, based on average spend and stay.

    Taxes and add-ons from Barbados are now among the highest in the region and ‘our’ Government will inevitibly realise that there are just only so many ways you can extract monies from visitors.

    If the people simply do not arrive, due to the high costs of reaching us, Government does not collect ANY taxes from them at all.

  19. Adrian Loveridge

    BK…

    Spot on!

    Allan Chastanet has a PROVEN track record in tourism with Island Outpost, Air Jamaica and his own hotels among others.
    I believe he is making decisions based on the national interests of St. Lucia and their tourism development.

    Can you blame him?

    What do we have?

  20. Rumplestilskin

    From what I remember, Chastenet was the only Caricom Gov’t official who raised concerns re the success of CWC, at an early stage.

    Who was right?

  21. Peltdown Man

    Adrian, I don’t know if we’re talking about two different companies called American Airlines. Since 9/11, they have used every excuse possible to reduce the level of service offered to their customers, especially on routes where they have near monopoly, like Barbados/Miami. They have been and still are in severe financial difficulty, simply because they are run by bean counters instead of marketing men. I took a flight last week where some passengers doled out US$5.00 for a lousy sandwich on board. They have made massive savings on in-flight catering, but has the fare come down? No way. It is now more expensive than ever. All major airlines have frequent flyer programmes – it’s just that we are forced to use AA more that we are able to take advantage of it. I repeat what I stated before, and that there is no comparison in operating costs between an airline operating globally, and one which is limited only to a small and difficult market such as the Caribbean. I agree that Chastanet is looking out for St Lucia, same as a former Minister of Tourism in St Lucia did when they broke the agreement on cruise ship head tax about 2 days after the agreement was signed. Chastanet is not using his “expertise” to help sort out the problem, he’s ducking the problem, and making it a bigger problem for the rest of us. As I said before, what happens if St Vincent and Grenada choose the same course of action? Looking out for number one – that’s the way to achieve regional unity!

  22. Rumplestilskin

    ”Looking out for number one – that’s the way to achieve regional unity!”

    Eaxactly my point, CSME is pre-doomed.

    Regarding LIAT, AS

  23. Rumplestilskin

    Regarding LIAT, as I noted before, skeleton crew, keep things safe but cheap. It is the only way.

    Unless we go back to travelling intra-island by banana boat, and I am serious.

  24. Adrian Loveridge

    Peltdown…

    Interesting points, but American Eagle as you know is not a global carrier and is operated for AA by a seperate San Juan based company (s).
    Also the hypocrisy coming from people like the Prime Minister of St. Vincent.
    As you know American Eagle already flys into Canouan from St. Lucia and San Juan.
    If they didn’t Raffles and Trump Villas would not exist.

    Competition, Peltman!
    ALREADY, prices have fallen on the BGI/MIA route because Air Jamaica is going to give them a run for their money on Fort Lauderdale.

    Now address the problem.

    62 employees per airplane!

  25. Peltdown Man

    I doubt that the St Vincent government is subsidising the Canouan service. It’s more likely to be CCA, who own the Canouan properties. As for competition in the airline business, you will recall that dereglation in the U.S. was to be the beginning of a new dawn in making competition reduce fares and improves service. Instead, the end result was fewer airlines, giving poorer service, and at higher fares. Air Jamaica, for which the much-lauded Mr Chastenet was Marketing Director, would also not exist if it were not for Sandals. So we’re back to a subsidised airline offering competition to American to where? Fort Lauderdale? Who wants to go there? Give it 12 months and lets see if that service still exists.
    Now your last point. Of course, LIAT is overstaffed, and worse still with poorly trained personnel. Its engineering department is a holiday camp. If they could get rid of that department and outsource engineering, even to a company in Florida, they would eliminate a major cost centre. I’m not saying that things can’t improve, but I do know that, given the regulatory and political environment in which LIAT operates, they are on a hiding to nothing.

  26. Adrian Loveridge

    Peltdown..

    Ft. Lauderdale? Who wants to go there?

    Well! actually Peltdown, 23 million people in 2005.
    Its the 23rd busiest airport in the United States in in the top 50 worldwide.

    The landing and all other charges are considerably cheaper than Miami and if I remember correctly the handling cost per passenger is about US$4 against Miami – US$17.

    Move LIAT to Barbados, get rid of all the local offices and trim the staff!

    But do you think it will happen?

  27. de gap

    Alternative fuels?

    The governments of Barbados, Antigua, St. Vincent, et al have been subsidizing LIAT for years with deafening rants about the folly of having a regional airline and the criminal waste of taxpayers hard earned money. The PM finally cuts the purse strings (and rightly so) forcing LIAT’s management to operate as a commercial concern and these same people are now bemoaning the fact that their vacation and or business travel will no longer be subsidized by bajan taxpayers, cud dear. With oil and gas prices at record highs for over a year, I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised that airfares would also increase. LIAT is just trying to breakeven, so shareholder governments are not forced to bail them out yet again. That is the free market. Now, it only LIAT could run it’s fleet on seawater, we’d be in business.

  28. Peltdown Man

    And I thought that I was alone

  29. Rumplestilskin

    As small island nations, we need effective, safe and cheap expenditure in respect of travel costs.

    Which is why I think that a feasibility study is in order for an intra-island ferry service.

    Ferries can carry more persons, including a substantial amount of luggage and I would think not only at cheaper ‘straight cost’ per run in terms of fuel, but even moreso in terms of per passenger per run.

    So if the islands had say, eight ferries in the one company and departure times were 6:00am or whatever early call allows the ferry to arrive in another island for business hours, and later departure times (after arrival of course), if the routes allowed of both 12:00pm and 6:00pm, it should accomodate most daily passengers.

    Obviously those passengers who seek a half hour arrival time would need to charter a plane or slect such a specialist service, but do most of us actually need that?

    We wait five hours to get to Miami and eight to London, so why can we not wait sya (guesswork, maybe someone with boat knowledge can let us know) three hours to get to Trinidad for example?

    I expect the ferries would be no more expensive than leasing planes, but the benefit would be in fuel costs and in the sheer amount of passengers carried, thus reducing per passenger cost and enabling families etc to travel intra-island for day trips, weekends etc, increasing revenues all around.

    With both such a service and reducing aircraft expenditures for the airlines we shoudl be able to address this problem logically and with a reasonable approach.

    No?

  30. Rumplestilskin

    Obviously due to distance, Jamaica would be the lone island requiring plane only service, but at least that would be the exception. With improved costing for the plane service and with the majority of eastern Caribbean islands using the ferries we should be able to ensure that the Jamaica fares are reasonable.

  31. Jamie

    A little “prickle” for the souse…

    “Never mind the 62 employees per aircraft.”

    It’s easy to throw such “facts” about. But try to remember that LIAT flies at lower altitudes (less fuel efficient) and shorter sectors (less fuel efficient) than the Eagle. LIAT is also REQUIRED to serve many markets that do not pay their way (the origin of “subventions”).

    And it is patently retarded and at the very least completely uninformed to suggest that you can run an airline with a “skeleton crew”. You are not dealing with a rum shop or a department store, many of the employees are required to be licensed professionals who guarantee every day that their work is 100% – such engineers and pilots.

    To run an airline – a 24 hour operation – you also need a minimum of 2 8-hour shifts dealing with the public and 3 8-hour shifts dealing with technical matters, not to mention all the paperwork that is required – and audited – by the appropriate authorities (local and international).

    Next, how did this dumb cluck Allan Chastanet get to be such an “expert”? He was Butch Stewart’s bitch in EC Xpress with a more-or-less captive market, and barked his scripted company lines in public on cue – many of them untrue, especially near the end. But he was just doing as he was told, no brainwork required there.

    Then the airline was FOLDED, does anyone remember that part??? Then he gets involved in the hotel industry at home and – on the strength of that – becomes Tourism Minister.

    If his hotel is still in existence in 10 years time I’d accept his qualifications as just “knowledgeable”, but still not an expert. For now, he’s just the usual incompetent Caribbean political mouth with hot air emanating from it.

    Chastanet’s announcement is a political move that will come back to chop him – you heard it here first. Along this path and in the fullness of time St. Lucia will become somewhat isolated and Eagle will abandon it for lack of blatently commercial loads – whether that is done before or after they demand their usual ransom is the only unknown at this point.

    Governments everywhere use airline fares as a source of revenue, and Barbados is no different. But in the context of regional travel and integration it is inappropriate for them to be making such large demands. My preference would be for lower taxes and lower fares inciting more travel, thus earning the same return (or better) for Internal Revenue.

    This preference of mine translates to other taxes, too, such as Income Tax – reduce the load, make it easy for people to save, keep more money in circulation, and you have the same or more revenue income but with a healthier and more vibrant economy.

    As for Darby, I’m not impressed. In many respects his past experience/s as a consultant do not seem to have helped his judgement, and there are several lessons for him still to learn in the Caribbean.

    The solution is obvious. Support our own, demand quality and accountability, and make it a priority to ensure our leaders get that message as coming from the majority.

  32. Straight talk

    Jamie:
    Many interesting points.
    The main one being that inter-island air travel does not equate economically with the general population’s ideas of free movement, easy commerce and common cultural idealism.
    Personally. it is obvious that CARICOM can NEVER be a success whilst there is such an economic barrier to free movement.

    How can you freely trade with your partner if you cannot afford to access his markets?

    CSME unless it is drastically revised is merely another layer of talking shops piled up on the ones existant, which are also going nowhere.
    It is a politician’s excuse for tub-thumping, long words, and the much pronounced “challenge of globalisation” dilemma, for carrying on interminable talking at expensive venues, Heads of Government conferences, inter-regional seminars, NGO brainstorms and any other excuse the over-educated, under utilised privileged talking heads to strut their unproductive stuff.
    For any economy to grow , one has to unleash the entrepreneurs, the money earners, not the academics who have never paid an airfare in their life.
    Instead of sending a government minister with her husband, flying first class to China, bringing back 600 labourers to undercut Bajan jobs, send 100 Bajan small business owners, bed and breakfast to, say Trinidad, to check out opportunities in an expanding regional market within Caricom.

    They will certainly not come back with 600 Trinis willing to work for $20 per day but the contacts a determined business seeker makes will be far more productive for his business, and thus Barbados, than any trade mission to say, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Botswana.
    I am still waiting to see the promised results of last year’s beanfests.

    I sincererly hope they do materialise to save us, but I am losing faith with our ministers and their new “opportunities”.
    As a surprise, I’d love to see some good old foreign exchange coming this way.

  33. Justasking

    Straight talk
    June 29th, 2007 at 12:32 am
    “………send 100 Bajan small business owners, bed and breakfast to, say Trinidad, to check out opportunities in an expanding regional market within Caricom.”
    ————————————————————–
    In all sincerity that is an idea with a lot of merit, or certainly something along those lines. The President of the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Commerce was recently in Barbados and at a lunch time presentation he extended an offer to all Barbadian businessmen/entrepeneurs to come to Trinidad and Tobago and his Chamber would facilitate them in whatever way they could.

  34. Rumplestilskin

    Jamie”And it is patently retarded and at the very least completely uninformed to suggest that you can run an airline with a “skeleton crew”.

    And it is ‘patently retarded’ to think that ANY business can run being so extensively overstaffed.

    If you read what I said I noted that the essentials of expertise i.e. pilots and servicing personnel should be maintained. The ‘administrative personnel’ should be trimmed to a minimum.

    If that cannot be done then the venture is predestined to failure.

    Do you have an interest in maintaining the ridiculous number of jobs? For too long LIAT and BWIA have been ‘free rides’ for Antiguan and Trinidadian citizens resectively.

    THAT is the issue re cost.

    As I also said, the high fuel cost etc is also why a feasibility should be done to assess the alternative of ferries.

    Cheaper, would be beneficial in the economy of scale i.e. number of passengers per run.

    THAT is also the better alternative.

    For those who want to be in another island in a half hour rather than three, then those can charter a small plane or, if the Govenrments insist on maintaining the airline service, it would be at the premier cost.

    Either afford it, or not.

    But to suggest that expenditures should not be curtailed and expect Government to subsidise the same is ridiculous.

  35. Rumplestilskin

    It seems to me that some people are of the impression that these islands as are oil rich as the Middle East. T&T is the closest in such terms, and even they could not run BWIA on a going concern basis, so how will the rest of us?

    We are small islands with low financial resources all with competing priorities, the travel facilities need to be cheap, safe and effective.

    It CAN be done by cost cutting.

    There IS no other way.

  36. Adrian Loveridge

    ‘Visitor Arrivals Surge’

    This bold front page headline in the Barbados Advocate today.

    ‘ After a slow start earlier this year vistor arrivals from the Caribbean on on the rebound’ said Minister of Tourism, Noel Lynch.

    Bring the evidence, Minister.

    Reduced airline capacity (less seats and less flights), historically high intra regional airfares and you are saying the numbers are up?

    Are you saying this summer is going to be our ‘finest’ year?

    CTO figures confirm that despite hosting the ‘world’s third largest sporting event’ for the first four months of 2007 our net increase in long stay visitor arrivals (from ALL markets)
    is 44 persons.

    Mr Minister, have the Caribbean Tourism Organisation got it wrong?

    Where do they get their figures?

  37. coo

    AL
    MM Barney Lynch pulls statistics out his a$$. The other question is the lapdog media. Why dont they research the stats like you do and confront pompous, liar Lynch with evidence? I have long believed that many, not all, journalists are paid or sweetened by politicians to give them favourable coverage.

  38. Adrian Loveridge

    Coo…
    I would hate to think that but, who knows in this society of lack of accountability.

    I do though share your concern that many of our journalists just seem to accept everything these people say, without question.

    Even during that 25th March episode of Down to Brass tacks Sunday, when the Minister quoted ‘90,000’ long stay visitors during the CWC Final Week plus another ‘75,000 cruise ship passengers and David Ellis tried to get him to justify the figures, he refused to answer.

    I have just got today’s Nation and there it is again ‘Barbados is achieving above target figures for the summer months – June, July, August’ with Caribbean travel’.

    I hope he has replaced the Crystal Ball he was using for using for CWC with a new one!

  39. It is irresponsible journalism for The Advocate to have a headline- “Visitor Arrivals Surge”
    when the text merely says they “ARE ON THE REBOUND” which in grammatical terms is the “continuous present”, very much in the process of completion. This time the exaggeration is not Lynch’s but that of a headline writer.

    In school I learned about “yellow dog” journalism, but here in Barbados we have BROWN NOSE JOURNALISM.

    It is a shameful travesty of Freedom of the Press for our newspapers to be sycophants of all Government ministers, particularly when so many of them deserve close and critical scrutiny.

  40. Adrian Loveridge

    ‘Official BTA statistics show a 26.2 per cent decline in regional arrivals between January and May this year when compared with the same period last year’.

    ‘Caribbean Community (CariCom) visitors to Barbados for the period in 2006 totalled 33,623. That figure has dropped to 24,809 this year’.

    So LIAT’s historically highest ever airfares have had ‘no effect’?

    But! hang on a minute.

    Only yesterday , in the Barbados Advocate the Minister of Tourism stated ‘and what our forward projections are showing, even with this increase in airfares, we are more than achieving our targets relative to Caribbean travel’.

    So a loss of 8,814 Caribbean visitors over a four month period is ‘more than achieving our targets’!

  41. Wishing in Vain

    Well do we have a sale of Caribbean Star or do we not ? I see blabber mouth
    Lynch rattlng on about Liat but I also see in todays news paper where the court has stepped in and halted any sale on behalf of the pilots association.

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