Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit. (Internet photo)

St. JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — The Dominica government was severely critical of the regional airline, LIAT and that probably led to the resignation of the airline’s chief executive officer, David Evans.

Evans, who joined the airline in 2014, earlier this month tendered his resignation, following what informed sources said was a “stormy board of directors meeting” in Barbados on Thursday.

Evans assumed the chief executive responsibilities from Julie Reifer-Jones, who had been acting CEO since the resignation of Captain Ian Brunton in September 2013.

Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, in a strongly worded April 8 letter to Evans complained about the treatment meted out to passengers travelling to and from Dominica.

“Permit me to express my utter disgust at the shabby manner in which the Commonwealth of Dominica is being treated by LIAT. There appears to be an awful negative attitude towards Dominica by senior personnel in LIAT and I am warning now that this must stop,” Skerrit wrote.

Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan, who is also a Dominica government spokesman, read out the contents of the letter on a radio station here.

David Evans resigned just short of two years on the job as CEO of LIAT.
David Evans resigned just short of two years on the job as CEO of LIAT.

In it, Skerrit said he was writing after the cash-strapped airline cancelled one of its two flights into Dominica on April 8.

“My information is that LIAT 581 was cancelled this morning due to a shortage of crew not to operate this flight but the actions of crew to operate another flight, namely the 771 destined for St. Lucia and on to Barbados.

“What would possess someone to remove the first officer from the Dominica flight and remove them to another causing the cancellation of the main flight into Dominica … is beyond my imagination,” Skerrit wrote.

He said the cancellation of the flight affected 47 passengers who could not be accommodated on a later flight, since it was full.

Skerrit called for an urgent board meeting and an investigation into the scheduling arrangements for Dominica.

“While I am at it I am still at a loss to understand why and how it is that Dominica is not served by a south bound flight at any time of the day. This brings about a ridiculous situation where every passenger leaving Dominica on LIAT must fly south to Antigua and connect to Barbados, St. Lucia or elsewhere.

“This is geographical genocide. It makes absolutely no sense to fly over Dominica half empty and my people being asked to spend unnecessary long hours and connecting through Antigua. Please investigate today’s incident as well as the existing and unsatisfactory overall scheduling of flights to Dominica”.

Skerrit said he would ‘appreciate a full explanation” informing Evans that “by reason of my copying of this letter to the other shareholders I am showing my intention to request an urgent shareholder meeting …”

Last week, the LIAT board said it had accepted Evans’ resignation.

6 replies on “Dominica PM’s criticism of LIAT led to CEO’s resignation”

  1. The entire situation with LIAT is terrible. Not only is the transportation between the islands very difficult for any airline no matter who manages it but in addition we have the shareholder governments using the airline as a cash-cow. Much of the reason LIAT is extremely expensive and has such bad service is the relationship between this private entity to the governments, especially St Vincent. The government of St Vincent is run for the benefit of the government and NOT the people. “of the government, by the government and for the government”. That is why the country of SVG has become poorer but the government revenues of SVG continually get larger. Soon the SVG government is going to “spend, borrow and tax” itself into poverty, and the Keynesian Socialist Economics will have to make way for a more prudent system. After that time either LIAT will be gone, been sold or at least re-structured to serve the people and not the government(s).

  2. Brown Boy USA says:

    That’s what you call a good government, standing up for your people at all cost and letting their voices be heard through you their elected leader. Well done Mr. Prime Minister. I applaud you, Sir!

  3. C. ben-David says:

    This windbag is just grandstanding.

    If David Evans was hired to turn LIAT around, it would be quite in order to rearrange flights to meet passenger demand. I don’t know about the cancelled flight or if Skerrit had his facts right but do know that countries like SVG and Dominica which have relatively few inter-island passengers saw some of their routes cancelled to save money.

    The problem was not Evans. The problem is the multiplicity of meddling owners, too much staff, poor staff motivation, and a lack of passenger traffic most of the year.

    The airline should be broken up into small pieces and sold to several smaller local carriers like our own SVGAir and Mustique Airways.

    More fast ferry service should also be encouraged even if this means subsidies for a few years.

  4. Jeannine James says:

    Fair enough. You cannot meet the demands and objectives of your customers and superiors, leave. Do not tarry. Neither do you stand in the way of the next CEO who will deliver to specifications. Straight and easy. Take your golden handshake and leave. Next!

  5. Who are you referring to as a “windbag” ? I hope not the honorable Prime Minister. If so you are totally out of order! I am glad he spoke up for his people and country. Well done Mr Prime Minister!

    1. We wish the PM of SVG cared more about his people instead of just himself and his ULP government.

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