(CMC) – The St Lucian government has made good on its promise to pay compensation to former employees of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT (1974) Limited with Labour Minister, Dr Virginia Albert-Poyotte, advising them to use the benefits wisely.
“Do not just blow it up in one day but use the economics that women use. Women are very good at managing money,” she said.
The Office of the Prime Minister said that the approximate compensation package for the former LIAT employees as well as that of a garment company, Majestic Industries, exceeds EC$6.3 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents).
The former local LIAT employees received bond certificates last weekend from the government and are cash redeemable and can also be used as collateral to secure loans.
“I know you have waited a long time,” the minister said, thanking the former LIAT employees for their patience.
LIAT (1974) has since gone into liquidation after more than four decades of operation in the region and Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre said that his administration had entered into an agreement with the non-management LIAT workers here who had been terminated by the closure of the company.
The airline is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, said previously that a decision had been taken that would allow Barbados and SVG to turn over their shares in LIAT to St John’s for one EC dollar.
Albert-Poyotte noted that in addition to the former LIAT employees, former Majestic Industry workers who have been waiting for almost 18 years for compensation, would also get terminal benefits.
“Within these hard times, the Prime Minister would tell you – it was not an easy decision. However, because we understand the plight of these workers, the government had no choice,” she said.