Yesterday was yesterday. Today is today. Politics really seems to possess a morality of its own. Imagine my surprise as I read in the newspapers statements by Dr Rowley’s that Air Jamaica is bleeding T&T.
While I believe this is definitely true my first thoughts were, I wonder who would be so foolish enough to acquire an airline that even the IMF advised its host country Jamaica to get rid of?
It is public knowledge that the acquisition of Air Jamaica was the policy of the former PNM administration as part of its regional integration agenda as stated by former Prime Minster Patrick Manning. In fact, when the documents relating to the merger of the two airlines were signed by the former Prime Minster he hinted at the possibility of acquiring LIAT, another vastly underperforming airline.
It is, therefore, very misleading and dishonest that Dr Rowley is now stating that the government purchased Air Jamaica despite his persistent objections. Dr Rowley is well aware the agreement of the CAL/Air Jamaica merger occurred before the current administration came into power.
Furthermore, the 200M dollar CAL write-off was caused by a inadequate policies and systems for dealing with the collection of payments for cargo invoices and a lack of proper checks and internal controls with regards to credit card bookings. Such deficiencies existed since 2007 under the previous board.
It is again very misleading that Dr Rowley has suggested that blame be placed on the current board. The acquisition of Air Jamaica and the CAL 200M write off were both conceived under the former board and administration. However, the consequences of those decisions have only now made it into the public domain to the detriment of the current board and this administration.