Friday 14 August, 2020

St Lucians stranded in Caribbean to return home amid LIAT closure

LIAT in flight

LIAT in flight

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says Saint Lucians stranded in the region due to the liquidation of regional carrier LIAT will be back home as provisions are being made to repatriate citizens.

Many travellers have been stranded for months due to regional shutdowns from COVID-19, which left passengers irate and concerned about returning back home.

News of LIAT closing up shop did not help the situation.

According to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, stranded nationals need not fear.

"My understanding is that there will be planes flying within the next ten days. There is One Caribbean that is already putting a schedule in place; I think it's $99 they are promoting," Chastanet said.

LIAT was the main airline in the region, servicing at least fifteen destinations. The airline was heavily criticized for its lackadaisical operations and high tax fares.

The absence of the regional carrier, however, will affect inter-regional travel and it is for that reason, according to Prime Minister Chastanet, that governments in the Caribbean are contemplating making intra-regional travel more affordable.

"The governments of the region are working to reduce their taxes," he said, adding, "Remember when Saint Lucia had a two-tier tax where we put $98.00 for international travellers and it was $60.00 for intra-regional travel and we always indicated if the other countries would go down, we would be willing to drop the $60.00."

According to him, Dominica, St Vincent, Barbados and Grenada are prepared to lower their taxes.

"So Saint Lucia has also indicated that we will be prepared to lower our taxes to about $35.00 and we are anxiously waiting to see what the other countries are going to go down to."

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