Leaches On The Treasury
We’ve been hearing a lot over the past few days about Caribbean Airlines and information revealed from its appearance before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. While some of it is eye-opening to an extent, we must admit though that we are not shocked to any great extent to hear any of it thus far. Poor customer service, excessive waste of money and low employee morale are elements we have come to expect from state run entities. What would be shocking is the opposite, especially profitability from an agency of the State. It is the view of many that State-run companies like CAL are just feeding troughs for the boys and for the repayment of political favours. Whether that is justified or not is for the government of the day to validate.
Among the preposterous bits of information revealed earlier this week was the matter of fraudsters using stolen credit card numbers to purchase airline tickets on CAL and escaping prosecution. One would think that providing personal details including passport information to purchase an e-ticket would make it a no-brainer to catch these criminals. But who cares right? Everybody gets paid whether the company makes a profit or not. Nobody cares about losing an additional 3 million from such fraudulent transactions. And it seems no one within the company is accountable either.
The wastage of millions more that was still being paid for 2 jets although they were no longer being leased for the London route was not as much of a shock as a disappointment. And of course, precious US dollars are being wasted in these totally avoidable penalties. What would be of great interest though is for the Joint Select Committee to find out who’s bright idea it was to sell off Trinidad and Tobago’s precious and sought-after airline counter spaces at Heathrow. And how much it was sold for? Was that a determining factor in the killing off of the Piarco to London route?
We have stated time and time again that the State has no reason to be operating commercial business because it can’t. Caribbean Airlines, Petrotrin, VMCOTT, PTSC, CNMG and the other entities operated by government have all failed to become viable and have now turned into a greater burden on our already struggling economy. Millions and millions of scarce dollars are pumped into these companies annually to keep them afloat rather than them contributing to the economy. Something seems amiss here. And Caribbean Airlines is just the tip of the iceberg. We say sell them all and free the Treasury of the bodies that were meant to be assets but have instead become parasites.
March 15th, 2017