Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 15th 2017 Contents news A5
Saturday, July 15, 2017 guardian.co.tt
CAL pilots raise safety
concern over ATR planes
On the heels of an emergency
landing in St Lucia by an ATR air-
craft belonging to Caribbean Air-
lines (CAL), pilots yesterday held a
"critical" meeting to discuss safety
concerns over the aircraft.
The T&T Guardian was told by a
source that the pilots are threatening
to ground all flights until CAL rectifies
all issues raised by them, including re-
curring technical problems on aircraft.
Contacted about the meeting held
by the T&T Airline Pilots Association
(TTALPA) yesterday, CAL communi-
cations manager Dionne Ligoure said
she was aware but could not comment
further on it.
On Sunday, Flight BW434 was forced
to make an emergency landing at He-
wanorra International Airport in St Lu-
cia after a warning light came on in the
aircraft's cockpit. In a media report, it
was alleged that a fire broke out in the
aircraft's engine. However, Ligoure cat-
egorically denied this. She added that it
was also the first time a warning light
had come on in that particular aircraft.
"There was no fire on any Caribbean
Airlines plane. The crews did exactly
what they were supposed to given the
situation that presented itself," Ligoure
"It is the first time on that aircraft.
Warning lights do come on on aircraft,
it happens but we must understand in
context what warning lights mean. We
would need to define what technical
problems are. Our planes are serviced
routinely and there are different types
of maintenance checks that have to be
done. In fact, we operate in a highly
regulated industry and when you say
technical problem it could just mean
that a bulb needs changing."
She, however, assured that all was
being done to "get to the bottom" of
technical issues, although admitting
they were not a "normal thing."
"In such cases we have operated and
acted in accordance with all required
procedures. This business is one that
is highly regulated," Ligoure said.
Asked what was the status of the
aircraft, Ligoure disclosed that the
necessary inspections were done by
the relevant independent bodies in St
Lucia before it was returned to Piarco on
Thursday. She, however, admitted that
the aircraft would not be resuming its
route as further rigorous inspections
need to be done.
"We have very competent operations
and technical people at CAL and we have
been able to make the necessary adjust-
ments to minimise any inconvenience to
our passengers," Ligoure said.
Also contacted for comment on yes-
terday's meeting, TTALPA's executive
administrator Shelly Sadaphal replied:
"This is quite a serious matter and we
will issue a release if needed."
A message sent to the pilots who at-
tended yesterday by Sadaphal thanked
them for their "overwhelming support."
"We appreciate your unwavering com-
mitment to the continued safe and pro-
fessional operation of the ATR fleet. As
indicated, we have advised our legal team
on the matters discussed today (yester-
day) and are awaiting further guidance,"
the message read.
It disclosed that TTALPA was invited
to a meeting with the chairman and vice
chairman of the CAL board today at 11
am "to engage in further discussion."
Sadaphal added: "We appreciate the
company's understanding of our deep
concern for the current situation on the
ATR fleet. We hope that our concerns can
be resolved to everyone's satisfaction and
that we are able to arrive at an amicable
solution to this grave situation."
It's been going
on since 1996
Former San Fernando dep-
uty mayor Sabrina Mow-
lah-Baksh says women ap-
proached her for help as far
back as 1996, claiming that
officers of the Contractors
and General Workers' Union
(CGWU) had been trying to ex-
act sexual favours from them
in exchange for jobs at the San
Fernando City Corporation
Following yesterday's T&T
Guardian article which alleged
CGWU officials were hand-pick-
ing 70 per cent of workers for
casual employment at the SFCC
in return for sexual favours in
some cases, several workers came
forward to share their experienc-
es yesterday. Mowlah-Baksh,
who served as a United National
Congress councillor during 1996-
2000, said when she raised the
issue at a statutory meeting the
union led a protest against her.
"In 1996, women came to me
and made those allegations. They
asked me to treat with the matter.
I raised it at a meeting as a matter
of concern and called for an in-
vestigation," Mowlah-Baksh said.
"At the very next statutory
meeting, the union came out
in their numbers and protested
against me for raising the matter.
The same women who complained
to me alerted me that the union
was going to come out to protest
my call for an investigation."
The issue came to light on
Thursday when San Fernando
mother Jovanne Edmunds raise
the issue of "unfair" recruitment
practice by the SFCC's adminis-
tration on the steps of City Hall.
Agreeing with Edmunds,
Mowlah-Baksh said the SFCC's
recruitment policy is skewed in
favour of the union.
"I agree with the protester that
the councillors should have a
greater input on daily paid re-
cruitment. The recommendations
(By the Union) is really a demand."
A Pleasantville labourer visit-
ed the T&T Guardian office yes-
terday and said he plans to write
letters to Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley, Local Government Min-
ister Kazim Hosein and Labour
Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus
calling for an urgent investigation.
The man, who asked not to be
identified for fear of victimisa-
tion, said he and several of his
colleagues were casual workers at
the SFCC for between nine and 15
years and cannot be guaranteed
continuous employment. He
said persons the union selects are
guaranteed jobs every fortnight,
although some of them started
working two or three years ago. He
claimed in order to get work, a job
seeker first has to join the union
and pay a fee, while some women
would sometimes be called out of
their homes at 10 pm to discuss
"The habit of demanding sex
has been going on years now. A
certain man, who has been run-
ning a department in the corpo-
ration for years, had to run down
a shop steward in the yard on
Carib Street with a shovel. The
shop steward was approaching
his daughter," the man claimed.
"Imagine they called out a
woman to a bar at 10 o'clock to
talk about employment. A wom-
an from Embacadere told me she
does not mind having sex with
the man for a work because she
has her children to feed, but she
needed to be assured of getting
"We've even seen union of-
ficers coming out of hotels with
the workers. If you are a woman
and sexually active with one of
the union officers, you will get
work right through. For men, the
union will take a day's pay from
In a voice note, another casual
employee said even some union
members cannot get work un-
less they are favoured. She said
consideration for employment
also meant they would have to
patronise private events hosted
by union officers.
Man killed while fixing stalled car on highway
Trevor Ross took all the nec-
essary precautions to preserve
his life and was still killed yes-
terday morning, after a pick-
up truck careened into him as
he tried to fix his stalled car
on the highway.
Ross, police said, of Powder
Magazine, Cocorite, was on the
emergency shoulder on the west-
bound lane of the Churchill Roo-
sevelt Highway, near the Grand
Bazaar overpass, around 5.10
am at the time of the incident.
He was attending to his stalled
Datsun 280C when a white pick-
up slammed into him, dragging
him a few feet before stopping.
Ross died at the scene while the
injured driver was taken to the
nearby Eric Williams Medical
Complex, where he remained
warded in a stable condition
In a telephone interview yes-
terday with i95FM, co-ordinator
of the Road Safety Project for the
Police Service, Constable Brent
Batson, said the driver of the
pick-up could face possible death
by dangerous driving charges.
"The only thing Mr Ross did
wrong was attempt to repair the
vehicle at the side of the road
and it even wasn't at the side of
the roadway, it was the shoulder.
So you have to wonder what the
driver was looking at that he did
not observe this driver on the road
to begin with... People are taking
for granted how they operate this
machine on the roadway. This guy
(the driver) did not even know he
might have been facing a caus-
ing death by dangerous driving
charge before today," Batson said.
Ross was recorded as the 42
road fatality for the year.
RBC manager's stolen car fond
The keen eye of a Good Samar-
itan and quick action by the West
End and the Four Roads police led
to the recovery of the vehicle of
RBC Financial's senior manager
of corporate communications,
Although not much details
were released about the recovery,
Duke-Westfield posted on her Face-
book page that all her possessions,
including her handbag, were also
The vehicle, a dark grey Nissan
XTrail, which was taken from her at
gunpoint on Wednesday at 1.30 pm in
front of her Diamond Vale, Diego Mar-
tin home, is now in the possession of
the police as investigations continue.
Duke-Westfield yesterday thanked
everyone for their prayers and over-
whelming love and support. Noting
the spiralling crime situation, she
urged people to be each other's broth-
"We have to be angels to each other.
Look out, be interested, take care of
each other." - RD
Ex-Sando mayor on sex for SFCC jobs claim:
MATTHEWS: COUNCILLOR OUT OF PLACE
Responding to the fresh
allegations yesterday, CGWU
president Ainsley Matthews
said they would not bother to
respond to them, reiterating
they came with the territory.
However, he said the union
was concerned about the coun-
cillors taking issue with the col-
lective agreement, which allows
them to recommend 70 per cent
of the casual labour. He said this
has been the practice since 1975.
"We find they are farse and
out of place in that the union,
through the collective agree-
ment, has the right to nominate
people and they cannot prevent
that right. It is our right repre-
sent the causal workers and
seek employment for them. If
we are getting 70 per cent, they
have to live with that. Common
practice becomes common law,"
Calls made to Hosein yester-
day were unanswered.
Also contacted yesterday,
San Fernando East MP Randall
Mitchell, whose constituency
the SFCC falls, said he has not
heard of the allegations. But
he said if there is any truth to
them, the SFCC and all cor-
porations should revisit their
recruitment and selection prac-
tices with a view to ensuring
fairness, transparency and that
there is no exploitation of the
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