Antigua is presently seeking a loan from the Central Development Bank (CDB) to buy the two LIAT aircraft owned by Barbados and St. Vincent.
According to Barbados Today, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said Antigua’s request was made after Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines wrote to the Central Development Bank (CDB), seeking permission to sell the three planes owned by LIAT’s three largest shareholders. The three planes were purchased with a loan from the CDB.
the proceeds were to be applied on a proportional basis, in reducing their re-fleeting loan with the Caribbean Development Bank.
However, the Caribbean Development Bank has indicated that in order for them to do that, they will have to call the re-fleeting loan; and because there are certain cross guarantees as well, it means that the other LIAT loans as well, will be in cross default and they would have to call those.
Prime Minister Browne noted that if the CDB calls all of those loans, it would create a fundamental problem for all three shareholding governments.
He said this is one of the issues that his government knew could have become a problem.
He also said that in the case of Antigua and Barbuda, it would mean that they would have to find about US$25 million, which clearly they don’t have.
They have since written to the Caribbean Development Bank to ask them if they could look at the possibility of extending a certain amount of money to Antigua and Barbuda so that they can payout St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados for the two planes that they would have owned out of the three.
Browne says he is not too CDB has the appetite for that but at least they are trying to see if they can step up with some additional borrowings and to try and resolve the issue amicably,
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Browne said Antigua and Barbuda is having discussions with other prospective shareholders, but he admitted it is not the best time to be having discussions about shareholding in an airline.