KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 6, IWN – With a legal opinion in hand, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says he wants talks, not a fight, with Trinidad and Tobago over the fuel subsidy it gives its airline.
Regional airline LIAT has received a legal opinion on whether the fuel subsidy Port-of-Spain gives to Caribbean Airlines (CAL) contravenes the CARICOM treaty.
Gonsalves, who is chair of LIAT shareholder governments, said Monday that the legal opinion supports his view that the subsidy contravenes the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established the Caribbean Community and its single market and economy.
“I just want to say that I have received a confidential legal opinion concerning the fuel subsidy that is provided by the government of Trinidad and Tobago so we can have an informed discussion on this.
“Not a fight, but to have an informed discussion on this question, where you are having a subsidy being provided for CAL, which we have always said out of the shareholders of LIAT and within the rest of CARICOM, that that subsidy is not in accordance with the multilateral air services agreement on the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
“And, my own views on those matters, which I have expressed publicly, have in fact been confirmed by this legal opinion and we have to take this discussion forward,” Gonsalves told a press conference.
“As I say, not in any antagonistic manner, but in a cooperative manner with the government of Trinidad and Tobago,” Gonsalves further said.