T&T Govt. To Create A ‘New BWIA’

Hardbeatnews, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Thurs. Sept. 29, 2005: Trinidad & Tobago’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Patrick Manning, yesterday revealed government’s plan to transition from the existing BWIA to “a new national entity.”

The plan was revealed in his $34 billion budget for fiscal year 2006, unveiled in the country’s parliament yesterday. But Manning warned that the new plan will involve a substantial investment of taxpayers’ dollars by the government and some major departures from the status quo.

The new entity, he said, would continue to be majority owned by the government with a plan for further divestment to the private sector. The plan also calls for the recapitalization of approximately US$250 million to ensure the new entity could manage its operations.

The PM said government will appoint a new board of BWIA under the Chairmanship of Arthur Lok Jack to undertake this exercise of the transition from existing BWIA to the new entity.

“With this approach, Mr. Speaker, we believe we can arrive at a new airline designed abinitio as a regional carrier and open in due course to participation from regional governments and the regional private sector,” Manning said.

OTHER ISSUES

Meanwhile, in his three hour budget plan, the prime minister also proposed lowering personal and corporation taxes, restructuring the energy tax regime and introducing a smart card program to cushion the impact of high food prices on low income citizens.

And focusing on crime, which is high in the twin-island Republic, PM Manning announced that his government was currently in discussions with the British Scotland Yard and the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the United States, for these law enforcement agencies to set up offices in Trinidad and Tobago, to provide expertise and assistance to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Special Anti-Crime Unit to help curb the scourge. – Hardbeatnews.com