Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 22nd 2016 Contents CAL's importance
to region raised
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says the
importance of Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to
regional air transportation was one of the key
areas discussed during his five-day trip to
He said the issue came up when the delegation
met with a committee which had been set up to
look at Jamaica's relationship with Caricom-mem-
Noting they also met with former Jamaica prime
minister Bruce Golding, he said it led to extremely
valuable discussions for our country.
"We discussed at length Caribbean Airlines in
the context of air transport and the role of Air
Jamaica in Caribbean Airlines and the expectation
of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago as shareholders
in this airline."
Discussions also focused on developing inter-
island sea transport in the region, which T&T can
pursue to improve inter-regional travel.
Rowley said they met also with Jamaica's head
of security, as things have been put in place for
"A number of things would have to be done
with what we have been discussing in terms of
carrying out our commitments, as well as making
adjustments in our locals laws to regionalise some
actions which have to take place," he said.
Rowley said Caribbean Airlines had acquired
Air Jamaica under certain conditions, one of which
was that Jamaica had a 16 per cent shareholding
in CAL. He said there was a bit more appetite for
a regional airline, where CAL could become the
carrier of more than one nation.
Following a trip to UWI's Mona Campus, Rowley
said his Government was able to get an insight
into what was happening at the university and
what it held for T&T students studying there and
those who had plans on going there in the future.
Many of the students there, Rowley said, had
concerns about the proposed cuts to the Govern-
ment Assistance for Tuition Expenses (Gate) pro-
gramme, which he said was "getting ahead of
itself in terms of a report being before the Cab-
"And until that report is digested by the Cabinet
and it considers its recommendation, while that
is going on there is some anxiety which we had
to respond to."
Having toured the Mona Campus, Rowley said
they made some comparisons with what existed
"Not just in servicing the students on campus,
but servicing the nation of Jamaica. We would
have to look to see toward what extent we are
serviced in a similar way in Trinidad and Tobago,"
He said his visit to the campus, where he assured
T&T students there was no need to panic about
the impending Gate adjustments, was valuable.
He said the intervention between both countries
were necessary and timely.
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for 21ST JULY, 2016
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yes-
terday heaped praises on St Augustine MP
Prakash Ramadhar for his sterling con-
tribution to T&T efforts rekindling its
relationship with Jamaica during a five-
day trip there.
Questioned last night about his decision
to invite Opposition members to Jamaica,
Ramadhar's contribution and if the Gov-
ernment would extend further invitations
to the Opposition MP on State trips, Rowley
"Mr Ramadhar is a very experienced
lawyer. He is a very experienced parlia-
mentarian and he is a member of the Par-
liament of Trinidad and Tobago.
"I can tell you, at critical moments in
our discussions in Jamaica his input was
very valuable as a member of the delegation
of Trinidad and Tobago."
Probed on if Government intended to
invite more Opposition MPs on State visits
after his delegation's arrival from Kingston,
"Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. It all
depends on the members of the Opposition.
If they are invited and they turn up, then
so be it. If they do not turn up, well we
would go without them."
Ramadhar, however, steered clear of field-
ing questions from the T&T Guardian con-
cerning comments made by Opposition
Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who crit-
icised him for accepting the invitation by
Instead, he said he would hold a press
conference soon to clear the air on certain
"Tonight was all about the Prime Minister
and the trip. I don't want to comment," a
smiling Ramadhar said in the VIP room of
the Piarco International Airport.
Last week, Persad-Bissessar knocked
Ramadhar for accepting the invitation, say-
ing an Opposition parliamentarian could
not represent the Opposition bench without
holding consultations with her.
She said neither Rowley nor Ramadhar
had consulted her about the issue or sought
any advice from her.
Couva North MP, Ramona Ramdial, who
was also invited, declined the invitation
after consulting her, Persad-Bissessar said.
Also among Rowley's delegation were
Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses and
Minister of Legal Affairs Stuart Young.
Rowley described his five-day trip to
Jamaica as hectic, exhausting and successful,
he having met the business community,
University of the West Indies students, aca-
demia and government and opposition offi-
Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness
had invited Rowley to his country when
they first met in Belize.
The invitation was prompted by the
seemingly strained trade relationship
between the two countries, after Jamaicans,
who were deported from T&T, had called
for a boycott of T&T goods there.
Rowley said if he had not made the trip
to deal with the issue, which was a dete-
riorating situation, could have resulted in
some very undesirable consequences for
In particular, Rowley said T&T's capacity
could have been faced with challenges within
the manufacturing sector here, leading to
the possible loss of jobs.
Among the issues discussed during the
trip, he said, were the Caricom Single Market
and Economy, free movement, security,
Caribbean Airlines and the Government
Assistance for Tuition Expenses (Gate).
Some of the businesses Rowley and his
delegation met were the Jamaica Chamber
of Commerce, health services, Foreign Affairs
and the Manufacturing Association
He said his trip was to put T&T"s position
to Jamaicans to whom some misunder-
standings and misrepresentations were
advanced from certains quarters.
Rowley said the position of free movement
of citizens from across the region came up.
"We discussed at length a requirement
for our citizens of our region, governed
under the Chaguaramas Treaty, to be prop-
erly informed about the conditions under
which free movement of citizens exists,"
While there is substantial free movement
in the region, Rowley said there were some
conditions where the movement could be
restricted. He noted that T&T has had to
restrict movement of some people to our
Rowley said he was able to speak to some
people in Jamaica who were particularly
aggrieved, mouth pieces and influence-
He said his Government left Jamaica with
the understanding that matter was not
As leaders of Caricom, he said, both
Jamaica and T&T have to set good exam-
He said at the level of the Caricom Single
Market and Economy, steps had been taken
for a review of work to be done and on
work that had been done.
Another eyebrow-raising development,
Rowley said, was when they were informed
that Jamaica had put in place a committee
to review its relationship with Caricom.
"That discussion was the subject of
extensive discussions in some quarters," he
PM lauds his Jamaica input but...
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addresses the media at the VIP
Lounge of the Piarco International Airport on his return from
Jamaica yesterday. Looking on are members of his delegation,
from left, St Augustine MP Prakash Ramadhar, THA Chief
Secretary Orville London and Minister in the Ministry of the
Attorney General Stuart Young. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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