Navy insists asylum boats cannot breach border

Earlier on Thursday Australian authorities claimed that a boat with some 200 asylum seekers on board capsized near Christmas Island closer to Indonesia and that the boat had originated from Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan navy on Friday insisted that security along the maritime boundary of the island nation remains tight and there is no possibility of any asylum boat heading to Australia directly from Sri Lanka undetected.Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya told Xinhua that despite the end of a 30-year war with the Tamil Tiger rebels three years ago and the relaxing of several restrictions on fishing in some areas, the navy still remains on guard. Australian Home Minister Jason Clare on Friday told reporters that according to information he had received, those on board the vessel were mostly Afghan nationals.Sri Lanka and Australia have an agreement on combating human smuggling after hundreds of Sri Lankans had reached Australia by boat over the past several years seeking asylum.The Sri Lankan police last month arrested 113 people while they were attempting to go to Australia by boat illegally, and earlier this month the Sri Lankan navy arrested 53 illegal asylum seekers who were also heading to Australia. (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry on Friday said that based on preliminary reports there were no Sri Lankans on board the ship which capsized the previous day.The Sri Lankan embassy in Indonesia also said that there were no Sri Lankans among the 110 survivors who were rescued from the vessel. “There is no chance of that happening. We maintain tight security along our maritime boundary so no boat can slip through,” Warnakulasuriya said. read more

Barbados PM announces sale of LIAT shares

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedAntigua Government not willing to pay price Barbados wants for its LIAT sharesJuly 17, 2019In “latest news”Regional governments urged to become LIAT shareholdersAugust 27, 2013In “Regional”LIAT’s CEO resignsSeptember 16, 2013In “Other Stories” (CMC) — The Barbados government Tuesday night formally announced plans to sell its shares in the cash strapped regional airline, LIAT, but insisted that it was committed to regional transportation and would continue to hold minimum shares in the Antigua-based carrier.Barbados along with Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines are the main shareholders of the airline that employs over 600 people and operates 491 flights weekly across 15 destinations.Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley in a statement to Parliament confirmed reports that Antigua and Barbuda would be seeking to replace her country as the largest shareholder government by seeking to acquire the shares Bridgetown would be outing up for sale.She said that Attorney General Dale Marshall would lead the negotiations.“There is only so much that Barbados can responsibly do at this time given our current circumstances and our current position on the journey which I referred to just now,” she said, having earlier made reference to the island’s multi-million dollar agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to turn around the ailing economy.“Therefore…notwithstanding our absolute commitment to regional air travel and notwithstanding the fact and given in fact that the studies have recommended a different module and restructuring for LIAT and given the inability of the government of Barbados to do for LIAT in the next five to 10 years what the government of Barbados did for LIAT in the last five to 10 years when we moved significantly to assume major shareholder responsibilities, we have taken the determination, a decision as a cabinet that it is time for us to step back while at the same time allowing other governments to continue with their proposals to restructure LIAT in the way which they have determined.”Last month, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said he had received communication from his Barbados indicating that Bridgetown was willing to sell all but 10 per cent of its shares in the airline.Antigua and Barbuda currently holds 34 per cent of the shares and if it acquires Bridgetown’s shares, would have 81 per cent of the airline.The government in a statement last month had said that “an offer was made for Antigua and Barbuda to acquire the LIAT shares owned by Barbados, through a take-over of the liability of Barbados to the Caribbean Development Bank.”The Antigua and Barbuda government chief of staff, Lionel Max Hurst, said that “there are many jobs here in Antigua and Barbuda connected to LIAT and we intend to ensure that those jobs are not lost.“Many of the route rights that LIAT now possesses would be utilized more fully if Antigua and Barbuda gets its way,” Hurst said. read more