ST JOHN’S, Antigua – LIAT’s second largest shareholder, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, today condemnd the strike action of the pilots in their dispute over money, and the time-frame in which their earnings are to be paid.

The industrial action taken by the pilots is in its second day, as members of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) continue to refuse to fly any of the airline’s ATR 72 series aircraft.

The Antigua and Barbuda Government said the pilots have been offered a reasonable payment schedule that takes into account the cash-flow position of the airline.

“Instead of exercising restraint and responsibility, the pilots have rejected the offer in an attempt to squeeze the cash-strapped airline to pay them immediately,” a Government-issued statement said.

“Everyone connected to LIAT is aware that the cash-strapped carrier is very much dependent upon the treasuries of the four owner-countries in order to survive. These four states are incapable of making large payments to LIAT at this time, given the fiscal challenges which they face.”

The pilots took action after LIAT management failed to honor a salary package arrangement agreed upon in January 2017, despite the threat of strike if the airline did not hold up its end of the deal by June 1.

On Wednesday LIAT apologized to customers for any inconvenience the disruption to the airline’s service may have caused, adding that they remain committed to working with LIALPA to resolve any issues.

They met with representatives from the pilots’ association Wednesday at LIAT’s headquarters in Antigua.

“During the meeting, a proposal was tabled by the management that would see the pilots receiving salary increases with respect to the ATR 72 coming into effect from July 19, 2017. The payment of the retroactive ATR pay adjustment for July 2013 to 2017 would be paid in three installments commencing the pilots’ pay period in December 2017,” LIAT said after the meeting.

The pilots’ association rejected the proposal.

ORANJESTAD, Aruba – A court here has declared the Dutch Caribbean carrier InselAir Aruba bankrupt.

The Curacao Chronicle reports that the court granted the airline a deferment of payment for a few months and presently flights are not operating.

According to the court there was no chance of selling the airline or restart operations.

When the case came before the court earlier this week, it was disclosed that InselAir Aruba did not work on a stabilization plan, nor did it take cost-cutting measures. There were no efforts made to start generating income.

It was also revealed that InselAir International is also struggling but it has been working on a reform plan for months.

However, in a recent release InselAir international said the bankruptcy will have no effect on the air services being provided by InselAir International as both airlines have no financial links and are two different legal entities with each being registered in their respective territory.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Dominican Republic brothers Juan Pena, 20, and Raphael Pena 33, have been violently attacked outside their Perry Bay home.

Juan, who is nursing serious injuries at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, was stabbed five times in the chest, face, elbow and hands.

Raphael was chopped twice on the head and face with a cutlass but was treated and released the same night.

The younger brother said they were sitting outside their home Sunday night when five men pulled up in gold and yellow SUV and started inflicting the wounds on them.

The brothers tried to escape but could not.

Juan said after the men inflicted the wounds, they fled in their vehicle but added that the ordeal for him and his brother wasn’t over.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Pilots at the cash-strapped regional airline LIAT have gone on strike.”‘LIAT regrets to advise the travelling public of industrial action by the members of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA),” the company said in a statement this morning.

“In the ongoing negotiations for higher wages, which includes the operation of the ATR aircraft, the pilots have taken action to refuse to fly the ATR 72 aircraft until an agreement is reached

“As a consequence of this action we have not been able to operate flights scheduled with ATR 72 aircraft at this time,” the company added.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The United States Embassy in Bridgetown has confirmed that it can ask certain visa applications from the Caribbean for their social media handles to include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat and more.

In responding to international media reports, the Embassy said the measure was implemented based on a March 6 2017 Memorandum from President Donald Trump.

“Certain visa applicants worldwide will be required to provide additional background and identifying information, including their social media handles, if requested by a consular officer during the application process, based on a determination that the applicant’s circumstances warrants enhanced screening,” the Embassy said in its statement.

The Embassy made it clear that consular officers will not ask for social media passwords, interact with individuals on social media, or attempt to circumvent their privacy settings.

“The same safeguards and confidentiality provisions that already protect a visa applicant’s personal information will remain in effect for social media handles and all other newly collected information,” it said.

Based on international media reports, the Trump administration has rolled out a new questionnaire for U.S. visa applicants worldwide that asks for social media handles for the last five years and biographical information going back 15 years.

According to Reuters News Agency, the new questions, part of an effort to tighten vetting of would-be visitors to the United States, was approved on May 23 by the Office of Management and Budget despite criticism from a range of education officials and academic groups during a public comment period.

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