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Decision on BWIA 'this week'

Sep 04, 2006

Government is likely to make its final decision on the fate of cash- strapped national airline, BWIA, by this week.

Confirmation of this came from Energy Minister, Dr Lenny Saith, who chairs the Cabinet committee that is handling the matter, yesterday.

In a telephone interview, Saith said the new business proposals for BWIA's future, which was handed to Cabinet six months ago by the Arthur Lok Jack team, is to be discussed by the Finance and General Purposes Committee of Cabinet.

This is a 10-member ministerial team, which includes Saith, Christine Sahadeo, Conrad Enill, Hazel Manning, Keith Rowley and Ken Valley, that fine tunes deliberations on major Cabinet decisions and makes the final recommendations on what course of action Government should take.

Sources said the BWEE proposals were discussed at length at last Thursday's Cabinet meetings, and Saith himself confirmed yesterday that after tomorrow's FNGP meeting, they would go back to Cabinet on Thursday, where it is likely a final decision would be made.

He said it has taken Government all of six months to determine the matter because time is needed to deliberate on such major issues.

Saith bluntly refused to comment, however, on newspaper reports yesterday quoting president of the Aviation and Communications Workers Union, Curtis John, as saying BWIA would be shut down next year when Caribbean Airlines comes on stream.

He said the new airline has already been registered, and the move would mean mass retrenchment at the company, where 1000 of the 1700 local staff quota would be affected.

John also claimed that BWEE's fleet size would be cut down and several routes would be suspended once the company is privatised

Saith said he was neither confirming nor denying reports, which first came out of the PNM General Council, that BWIA was to be privatised.

By: Sasha Mohammed
Trinidad Express
Monday, September 4th 2006



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