Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 19th 2014 Contents A17
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LONDON---Britain s air traffic service
says it will compensate airlines for last
week s computer glitch that briefly
shut down London s busy airspace.
The National Air Traffic Service said
"there will be a financial consequence
for the company from the delay
caused by the technical problem." It
says the amount of the rebate to air-
lines is being calculated.
Passengers caught up in the disrup-
tion will have to seek compensation
through their airlines.
NATS says an unprecedented com-
puter systems failure Dec. 12 touched
off mayhem that caused delays and
canceled flights for thousands of pas-
Chief executive Richard Deakin told
British lawmakers that "I can guaran-
tee that this particular problem will
not happen again but I cannot hon-
estly sit here and say we will never
have a computer glitch again." (AP)
Managing director of Sacha Cos-
metics, who is currently in Cuba on
a business trip, said he was in a "cel-
ebratory mood" over the news that
the US had begun steps to normalise
relations with the Caribbean island.
"We have been the vanguard in
Cuba and went there to do business,
even when they were warning com-
panies about doing business in Cuba,"
he told the T&T Guardian in a tele-
phone interview yesterday.
Maharaj, who at the time was in
the office of one of his main distrib-
utors, said Cubans were celebrating
this new development in the country s
He said he was not worried about
competition from US companies in
Cuba, since T&T companies like his
own had been there for a few years
and were well established in that
market with a head start over any
"Cuba has a duty free agreement
with 14 Caricom countries. Some
countries have partial scope agree-
ments and others have none. There
was a company from Guatemala
which had to face 100 per cent duty,
while Sacha Cosmetics had zero duty
to face," he said.
"That Guatemalan company even-
tually was forced out of the market
and today Sacha Cosmetics is doing
well in Cuba. The Cubans know how
long we have been here and from the
signals they have given our T&T com-
panies, we will be protected."
Maharaj said he was optimistic
about Cuba s future.
"I expect the US embargo to be
lifted completely in a few months.
This is a great time to be in Cuba,"
Dax Driver, CEO of the T&T Ener-
gy Chamber, said his organisation led
a trade mission to Cuba in November
"Coming out of the mission there
were a number of Trinidad and Toba-
go energy service companies who did
business in Cuba, mainly providing
support to offshore drilling operations.
The disappointing results from those
drilling campaigns meant that there
have been fewer wells drilled in recent
years and therefore fewer opportu-
nities in this sub-sector," he said.
Driver said once US-based firms
got into Cuba, there should be more
opportunities for local energy firms.
"T&T companies did benefit in
the past from the fact that they did
not need to compete with US-based
companies in this sector. However,
if and when the economic embargo
is lifted there are likely to be addi-
tional investments into the Cuban
energy and heavy industrial sectors
and this will represent new potential
opportunities for Trinidad and Toba-
go energy service companies," he
Stephen King, managing director
of Ixanos, a local software develop-
ment company with close contacts
with companies in the Cuban ICT
sector, told the T&T Guardian Cuba
would continue to open up but it
would not be a quick process.
"The change from a state-run sys-
tem to a private sector one will not
happen quickly. There are a lot of
barriers to prevent that from hap-
pening. If a company wants to get
into Cuba, they must have had a
relationship with a Cuban company
for at least three years before they
are even considered to be allowed to
enter," he said.
However, King added, there were
many opportunities for local busi-
nesses given Cuba s highly-educated
and skilled population. Also, there
are different economic strata in Cuba.
"This is now a great opportunity
for T&T companies and businesses.
If a company wishes to get into Cuba,
contact the Cuban Chamber of Com-
merce. There is also the T&T Trade
Facilitation Office there. T&T also
has an embassy there that gives a
lot of help so take the opportunity,"
In a recent interview, Cuban
Ambassador to T&T Guillermo
Vazquez Moreno told the Business
Guardian Cuba would continue to
invite T&T companies to invest there
as it continued to make that island
an attractive investment destination.
See Pages A22 and A23.
T&T firms see more opportunities in Cuba
British air service to compensate airlines for glitch
Musicians play trombones as a tourist from
Colombia takes their picture along the Malecon
in Havana, Cuba. President Barack Obama's
announcement of plans to re-establish
diplomatic ties with the Caribbean nation gives
hope to airlines, hotel chains and cruise
companies---all which have been quietly eyeing a
removal of the travel ban---that they soon will
be able to bring tourists to Cuba. AP PHOTO
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