Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 12th 2013 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Thursday, September 12, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Finance Minister Larry Howai
has denied that the removal of the
subsidy to Caribbean Airlines Lim-
ited (CAL) was as a result of the
criticisms by St Vincent and the
Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph
Gonzales about the facility offered
to the airline.
In mid-May, Gonsalves had said
the fuel subsidy was "unfair and
disadvantageous" to Liat and that
the Caricom multilateral air services
agreement had been breached as a
result of the T&T Government s
continued support to the airline
through the subsidy.
But speaking to T&T Guardian
on Tuesday, after the T&T Chamber
of Industry and Commerce post-
budget news conference, Howai said
the Government made decisions in
the interest of T&T.
"In a sense we run the Govern-
ment on the basis of what is good
for us, as opposed to what other
people might say," he said.
"Yes, we hear what Mr Gonsalves
said, we take it into consideration
whenever we do have to interact
with him, in any way. At the end
of the day, we have to do what is
right and best for T&T."
Howai said, however, that he was
convinced removal of the subsidy
was the right thing, since operating
CAL should be like operating any
business, which means the airline
should strategically position itself
to deal with competition as well as
other factors in the external envi-
ronment it operates in.
"I think moving the fuel subsidy
and pushing CAL to become com-
petitive and profitable, even if I don t
get them exactly where I want them
to be---at least, if I could get them
starting to move in the right direc-
tion, I think it s a start."
Howai added that the airline has
potential to become competitive,
though the airline industry is "noto-
He added that CAL challenges
were not unique to the airline, as
international carriers like American
Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Air-
lines and other carriers have expe-
rienced their own challenges.
"They (CAL) must become prof-
itable. They must strive to become
much more efficient and much more
customer-oriented, much more
effective in the delivery of their serv-
ice, so we have to push them to do
He said the time had come for
the airline to become more inde-
"In addition, I think they have
the capacity and I have seen it,"
"We have the capacity to make
ourselves competitive and to become
efficient and effective, I think CAL
has that capacity and I want to see
them achieve that. Taking this (the
subsidy) is helping them to become
a little bit more effective in what
Since Howai s announcement of
the decision in Monday budget pres-
entation, there has been much
debate as to whether CAL would
increase its airfare despite a promise
not to do so, and whether it could
survive without Government sup-
In a statement on the airfare
structure, CAL said "the airline has
no intention to change the broad
pricing strategies as it seeks to com-
pete within the current regime of
"The caveat of course is, that
there are no significant increases in
market fuel prices," it said.
"These strategies recognise sea-
sonal demand, consumers demands
for value for money fares, as well
as the potential increased compe-
Referring to its future without a
fuel subsidy, the airline said:
"Caribbean Airlines accepts the
challenge to move to a new per-
formance model of how we must
manage our operations.
"We recognise that a lot of work
needs to be done on the road to
self-sustainability and in making
the changes to meet the service
quality expectations of our cus-
tomers," CAL said.
"We will face many hurdles on
the way, but our staff look forward
to making this a positive journey
for the airline in partnership with
all our stakeholders in the region."
Howai has said that the $400
million in capital injection given to
CAL in this year s budget was part
of the new restructuring plan for
the airline. He said it would not
continue indefinitely, however, as
this injection would only continue
until CAL gets to the break even
Board members met at a regular
meeting yesterday at which it was
believed that the decision to remove
the fuel subsidy and the way forward
was high on the agenda.
Howai on fuel subsidy removal:
CAL needs push to profitability
An aerial view of the Tarouba stadium. PHOTO: ALVA VIARRUEL
From Page A1
However, Moonilal yesterday defended the delays, saying a proper
survey of the stadium had to be done before work continued.
"We could not have gone full speed ahead and do anything,
because we had to do a comprehensive assessment," he said.
"If we did not do the comprehensive assessment, the very media
would have asked for the technical reports. So we had to do all
our assessments and get international consultants, which we did.
"That also cost money. So in doing the assessment, it cost money
as well. Now we are in a position where Cabinet has approved a
Upon picking up duties at Udecott in 2011, chairman Jearlean
John announced that an investigation would be launched to determine
whether contractors were still liable to repair infrastructural defects
at the stadium.
Among the issues were a leaking media tower, broken pavilion
seats, a flooded gym and an improperly constructed VIP lounge.
The stadium, started in 2005, was designed as part of the proposed
$850 million Tarouba Complex on 180 acres of farm land. It was
to include an aquatic centre, Olympic-sized cycling velodrome,
indoor gymnasium, academy for athletes and a spacious car park
along with the Brian Lara Stadium and cricket academy.
In April 2011, however, Sports Minister Anil Roberts announced
that those plans had been scrapped and only cricket would be
played at the stadium.
Moonilal defends delays
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