(Trinidad Express) Trinidad’s Finance Minister Larry Howai has fired the Caribbean Airlines (CAL) board. The board includes chairman Rabindra Moonan, vice-chairman Mohan Jaikaran, Gizelle Russell, Venosh Sagewan-Maraj and Avedanand Persad.
Jamaican businessman Denis Lalor stays on the board.
Philip Marshall, director of the Strategic Management Office of the Ministry of Finance and the Economy, will chair the new interim board.
The new directors are:
1. Vishnu Dhanpaul – the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance.
2. Indira Ramkissoon- an attorney based in the Ministry of the Attorney General.
3.Courtney McNish – a Human Resource professional.
4. Patricia Kong-Ting- a consultant in Finance & Risk Management and former Head, Group Market Risk at RBTT Financial Holdings Limited.
Howai, at a press conference held at the Ministry of Finance yesterday took responsibility for the financial losses, which CAL has racked up in the past two years. On Tuesday, he told the Senate that CAL’s losses for 2012 were $704 million.
Howai said: “The mandate of the Board will be to conduct a thorough and comprehensive diagnostic of the airline, with a view to formulating an action plan to take CAL forward.”
“Having addressed questions on Tuesday on the fundamentals and requirements of the operation of the Board of Directors, I believe it is in the best interest of the airline to allow the Board to fulfill its mandate and report back to the Ministry of Finance and the Economy. When this diagnostic report is received, it will be discussed by the Cabinet and a further statement will be made.”
Questioned on whether anyone on the new board had airline expertise, Howai said they would outsource that expertise as required.
Asked why it took so long to act on the CAL board, Howai said that he had waited for Moonan, who was appointed chairman last June, to settle in and see what decisions he would take to turn the airline around. However, it was the issue of bad corporate governance at the board level, which caused him to remove the board immediately.