Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 18th 2017 Contents news A5
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 guardian.co.tt
State-owned Caribbean Airlines says a total of
9,487 passengers were accommodated between
both airlines last weekend, despite a sick-out by
pilots who refused to fly the ATRs because of safety
concerns. By yesterday, some of the pilots were
back on the job but jets were still being used to
supplement the service.
CAL's communications manager Dione Ligoure yes-
terday apologised to the hundreds of passengers affected
by the delays. However, she denied flights were can-
celled as there was the "consolidation of flights." She
explained that when the pilots flying the ATRs called in
sick, 737 jets were brought in to supplement the service.
She said "consolidation was necessary because of crew
constraints" and apologised for the delays in the services.
From last Friday (July 14) to Sunday (July 16), the 737
jets operated a total of 55 flights between the islands.
Despite this, problems on the air bridge continued yes-
terday, prompting CAL to make some flight changes.
Asked about the safety issues raised by the pilots,
Ligoure said, "Caribbean Airlines is uncompromising
with respect to safety."
She said the airline has a "rigorous maintenance pro-
gramme and we go above and beyond in the context of
maintenance of the aircraft, since safety is foremost in
everybody's mind at CAL."
President of the Airline Pilots Association Paul Foster
told the T&T Guardian they had met with CAL man-
agement and a joint statement would be issued. Asked
whether their concerns were being addressed, he an-
swered in the positive.
CAL employs 177 pilots and they account for 12 per
cent of the airline's workforce and 43 percent of the air-
line's overheads. The T&T Guardian understands that
the pilots' wage bill with perks amounts to US$30 million
annually. A well placed industry source said a CAL cap-
tain is paid just over TT$60,000 a month, while a senior
captain earns upwards of TT$100,000 a month. They
also benefit from perks including US dollar allowances
and cockpit passes.
Efforts to contact CAL's CEO Jagmohan Singh and
Chairman Mohammed were unsuccessful yesterday.
But Tobago Chamber president Demi John Cruick-
shank yesterday described the situation on the air bridge
as "untenable." He said it was "causing havoc and may-
hem, people cannot get from Trinidad to Tobago or vice
versa and people missing their international connections.
You cannot build a tourism industry like this."
Public Services Association president Watson Duke
said he fully supported the pilots in the current impasse,
as he was also concerned about mechanical problems on
the ATRs. He is advocating that the ATRs be replaced.
"We do not want a fix up or patch up ATR, we want
new planes," Duke said.
Devon died of
An autopsy performed on radio
personality and soca artiste Devon
Matthews yesterday found that he
died from a heart attack.
The autopsy was conducted at the
Port-of-Spain General Hospital's
mortuary and the report was signed
off by Dr Sherrise Sandy for Dr Sha-
The autopsy showed one of Mat-
thews' arteries in his heart was "totally
blocked off" and the other was "almost
blocked off," meaning he would have
suffered from coronary heart disease.
Asked if there were any signs that
Matthews could have been on any kind
of pills, a medical source at the hospital
said: "It only shows that he had high
cholesterol over the years and it went
The death certificate gave the cause
of death as "Acute Myocardial Infarc-
tion, Ischaemic Heart Disease, Coro-
nary Artery Disease Atherosclerosis."
Yesterday, the T&T Guardian was
told about two weeks ago, Matthews,
36, began having respiratory issues and
burning in the chest. He subsequently
visited a doctor, did several tests and
was diagnosed with acid reflux. As a
result, he was prescribed Zantac and
was said to be taking the prescription
up until the day he died.
Zantac is a medication used to
treat certain stomach and throat (es-
ophagus) problems (such as erosive
esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux
disease-GERD, Zollinger-Ellison syn-
drome). It is also used to prevent and
treat heartburn and other symptoms
caused by too much acid in the stomach
The T&T Guardian was told only
a toxicology report could give more
details of what was in the blood, but
such a report was not requested by
Matthews' family and there was also
no reason to suspect foul play. The
medical source said if such a report is
requested the tissue samples would
have to be sent to the Forensic Science
Centre and the results would be sent
back to the Port-of-Spain mortuary in
several months' to a year time.
Yesterday at RED 96.7FM, the entire
station was in sombre mood, accord-
ing to Matthews' former boss, Citadel
Radio Network president Tony Lee.
"The Red team members are yet to
understand the loss, what they are
dealing with is the reaction of the sud-
den death. The depth of the death will
be felt in a week's time when everyone
will realise that Devon is not physically
here any more," Lee said.
Lee described Matthews as an indi-
vidual who was very responsible and
"He always looked to do something
differently. He blossomed here from
when he started 12 years ago, from the
foundation of the radio station."
DJ Kevon Daly held down the fort
for Matthews' shift from 12 noon to 3
pm yesterday. Daly opened the show
telling the listening audience that it
was one of his hardest days on radio.
He said described Matthews' passing
as a sad time for them at the station.
"We are trying our best not to be sad
and Devon would say 'No kill joy,' so
that's what we intend to do here today,
we will try to stand by that," Daly said.
He even invited soca artistes to stop
by throughout the day to pay their re-
spects to "a brother, friend and col-
Matthews passed away early Sunday
morning, after collapsing backstage at
Tribe's "Festival of the Bands" at St
Mary's College Grounds, St Clair, after
his stage performance. He was rushed
to St. Clair Medical Centre, where he
was pronounced dead.
Matthews placed third in this year's
Soca Monarch Finals with one of the
season's favourites, "D' Journey (Make
It)," featuring Ella Andall.
Funeral arrangements are yet to be
AATT starts new US security protocol
Passengers travelling to the United States for
the July/August vacation will now have to leave
home a little earlier, after the Airports Authority
of T&T announced new security measures for
In a release yesterday, the AATT said it had been
forced to implement the measures after the United
States Department of Homeland Security "determined
it necessary to enhance security measures for all com-
mercial flights to the United States."
These measures will be implemented at both the
Piarco and ANR Robinson International Airports be-
ginning tomorrow ( July 19) for passengers travelling
to the United States.
It noted that T&T is one of the 104 countries glob-
ally that will be adopting the required measures. It
added that the changes to be implemented due to
the enhanced security measures include, but are not
• Heightened overall passenger screening.
• Extensive screening of personal electronic devices -
electronic devices larger than a cell phone (for example
laptop computers or tablets) as carry on or checked
luggage may be subjected to further security screening.
• Increased security protocols around aircraft and
in passenger areas.
• Deployment of advanced technology and the in-
troduction of canine screening.
The AATT said it expected queuing time at the secu-
rity check points to be lengthened as a result of these
measures and as such, advised passengers to arrive at
the airports for the recommended three hours prior to
the scheduled departure time for international flights.
The authority thanked the travelling public and
its stakeholders in advance for their cooperation in
complying with the adjustment, noting it is intended
to ensure the safety and security of passengers and
Passengers wait in line at the CAL inter-island terminal at the ANR Robinson International Airport yesterday
morning. PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
Pilots back out but ...
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