Arthur blames leaders over travel
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur believes the region is paying a price for independence, including the troubles of Caribbean carrier LIAT.
He said the region could only address issues related to LIAT if it was understood that the region had paid a heavy price for insular nationalism.
Arthur was speaking at the Caribbean Development Bank, Wildey, St Michael, on Wednesday during the launch of Don’t Burn Our Bridges: The Case For Owning Airlines, a book by LIAT chairman Dr Jean Holder.
“Our problem, whether it is putting a single economy together or a single regional carrier together, is that insular nationalism has become so embedded and institutionalised in the Caribbean, has become such a deeply emotional issue that it is . . . standing in the way of serious progress,” he said.
Arthur, who has long championed the integration movement, said when Caribbean prime ministers decided to create a Caribbean Community in 1974, they determined that the next step would be to have a regional carrier.
“It speaks to how far we have retreated as a region that the same governments of the region that want to have a regional community decided that they did not want to own the regional carrier,” he stated.
Arthur said there was a modern crisis in the region where governments could no longer afford to operate each of their societies as a separate entity.
“The societies are wallowing under the weight of trying to carry the costs of government in a small society.” (NB)