Barbados commits $3 million to keep LIAT flying

Barbados is putting Bds$3 million into the operations of regional airline, LIAT to keep it in the air during the COVID-19 crisis.

Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ryan Straughn, won parliamentary approval on the weekend to have the money transferred from the Consolidated Fund “to ensure the Government of Barbados can support the operations of LIAT”. The administration went to Parliament with three money resolutions seeking the approval of the House of Assembly for the resolutions, which are part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In moving the resolutions, Straughn said “there are limited aircraft coming into the country and goods and people still need to be transported around the region in a short space of time.”

He said, “notwithstanding the challenges over the years with respect to issues with LIAT at this particular point in time where there is limited access with respect to commercial aircraft coming into Barbados, we still have a responsibility not just to ourselves but certainly to our neighbours. There are still people that access medical services in Barbados with respect to citizens from the OECS [Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States].”

The total vote of $4.3 billion to supplement the 2019/2020 Estimates included $1 million for the Child Care Board to provide relief to those families with four children or more under age 21.

In the meantime, Barbados will be receiving medical aid from Cuba to help in its fight against the novel coronavirus. This announcement was made by Health and Wellness Minister Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic last evening.

In addition to the medical and nursing assistance, a request has also been made for a number of doctors from the Cuban nation to assist Barbados in this fight. Cuban medical teams have been providing assistance to several countries across the globe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A team of fifty-two health professionals from Cuba are assisting Italy in its battle to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. More recently Jamaica, Venezuela and Grenada were a few of the other countries who also welcomed Cuban medical teams.