Will Venezuela Invest in LIAT?

Above: a LIAT plane

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Venezuela has expressed an interest in investing in regional air carrier LIAT, according to Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

The Prime Minister revealed the interest during a press conference this week to announce that Dominica would be making another financial contribution to the Caribbean carrier.

“I believe it is an absolutely good move if we were to get Venezuela to invest in LIAT to provide LIAT with the much needed financial and technical support that it requires. It could also mean additional business for LIAT,” Skerrit said. “If we could get Conviasa to service flights from Brazil and from Venezuela and all the Latin and South American countries and transport them to a hub in the Caribbean and then take them to their respective destinations within the Caribbean then it means additional business for LIAT.”

The revelation comes a few months after PetroCaribe member states discussed the possibility of enhancing air service in the region, according to Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez.

“We are ready to make an alliance of both public and private companies and to establish connectivity in the PetroCaribe zone,” he said in May.

A LIAT investment could move that idea forward.

“We intend to continue these discussions with the government of Venezuela in respect to the draft agreement, MOU, which was sent for consideration,” he said. “There are some aspects of it which I believe are clear and straight forward but there are other aspects of it which will need further discussions among ourselves as the existing shareholders first and then to raise them with the government of Venezuela.”

LIAT is owned by a group of Caribbean governments, including Grenada as a minor shareholder.

LIAT’s principal shareholders include Barbados, Antigua, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica.

The latter three are members of Venezuela’s ALBA Alliance.