• 14 MAR 2019

Post-Cabinet Media Briefing 14.03.19


Boeing Max 8 and 9 Prohibition to Remain until Aircraft Deemed Safe

The Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 will not be allowed to use Trinidad and Tobago’s airspace until they are deemed safe. Senator the Honourable Rohan Sinanan, Minister of Works and Transport made the announcement at today’s Post-Cabinet Media Conference.

The Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority issued the prohibition notice yesterday evening which prevents the aircraft from entering the country’s airspace. The decision followed the US Federal Aviation Authority’s notice which grounded all the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft worldwide.

Minister Sinanan said a number of American Airlines’ passengers flying to or from Trinidad and Tobago were affected by the prohibition. He said the airline will now operate the Boeing 737-800 to accommodate these displaced passengers.
American Airlines usually operates three flights a day but is operating two flights today. Their flight schedule is expected to return to normal by Saturday.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Honourable Colm Imbert said he has instructed Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to seek advice from the best aviation lawyers in the world regarding the airline’s options given its contract with Boeing for the lease of several new Boeing Max 8 aircraft.

The Acting Prime Minister said Caribbean Airlines currently has a fleet of 12 Boeing 737-800, the safest aircraft in the world and is not yet in possession of the Max 8 aircraft. He said the Government is now looking at the best options to replace CAL’s fleet if the Boeing Max 8 aircraft is permanently grounded by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

The Acting Prime Minister said an initial report from CAL’s chairman indicated that the lease contract stipulates the aircraft must be certified as airworthy. If the supplier is unable to meet this stipulation the Government will take steps to recover the 7 Million USD down payment made towards the acquisition of the aircraft.

Oil Spill Investigation Ongoing

The oil spill that occurred on Tuesday evening in the vicinity of Maritime Preservation Limited at the Hyatt waterfront is under investigation.

Minister Sinanan said although the source of the spill has not yet been ascertained the Environmental Management Authority, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries and his Ministry’s Maritime Services Division have contacted the Institute of Marine Affairs and are working together to collect the relevant samples. He said samples of the oil spill and samples of oil from all the vessels in the area have been obtained in order to determine which vessel is responsible for the incident. He said all avenues are being explored to uncover the source of the spill.

Prime Minister Rowley to Return Home Tuesday

Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley will return home on Tuesday evening.
Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Colm Imbert said he has been advised that the Prime Minister’s medical tests indicated that there was no need for surgery. The Prime Minister was also the subject of a stress test yesterday which yielded favourable results.

Trinidad Petroleum in Talks with Lending Agencies

The Acting Prime Minister confirmed that an article carried by the Reuters news agency on Trinidad Petroleum’s move to secure financing is accurate. He said the discussions with rating agencies and lending agencies to refinance the company’s 850 Million USD bond are going very well and the company is on its way to profitability.

Piccadilly Regeneration Project Approved by Cabinet

Cabinet has approved a project that will create employment for residents of the East Port of Spain area and enhance their communities.

The Honourable Edmund Dillion (Ret’d) Major General, Minister of Housing and Urban Development explained that the project, which is part of a wider initiative to improve the East Port of Spain area, will start before the end of the month. It will begin with the demolition of the old Besson Street Police Station to make way for a mixed-use tower building.

The first phase of the project will start from Besson Street and end at Laventille Road while the second phase will run from Laventille Road to Jackson Hill.
The Minister said the mixed-use tower building will involve a combination of economic activities on the first floor and social and recreational facilities on the second floor. The remaining floors will house two and three bedroom apartments.

The Urban Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago will be responsible for the design-build concept which is in the conceptual stage.

Fire Service Recruits in Tobago will all be from Tobago

All of the 50 Fire Services’ recruits who will be trained in Tobago will come from Tobago.

The Honourable Stuart Young, Minister of National Security, Minister of Communications and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister said there was no need for Tobagonians to be concerned that the recruiting exercise in Tobago will be used to train recruits from Trinidad.

He cautioned that there may not be jobs for all 50 recruits in Tobago and once training is completed some of them may have to work in Trinidad.