Ramnath: Don’t trust Imbert’s words
By SEAN DOUGLAS Saturday, March 8 2008
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Kelvin Ramnath ...
COUVA South MP Kelvin Ramnath yesterday told the House of Representatives that Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert’s statements on the acquisition of a Bombardier jet plane by Caribbean Airlines (CA) “cannot be trusted.”
He was speaking on the controversy during debate on the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) Bill 2008.
Ramnath also criticised CA chairman Arthur Lok Jak and CA board member Robert Riley. He said Guardian Holdings Limited was a failing company which has got rid of the jet it owned, as Neal and Massy Limited had done years ago, but would now be able to hire the new Bombardier jet without the attendant maintenance costs.
“And Government will subsidise it,” chimed in Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday, with Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar alluding to a conflict of interest by adding, “Himself to himself.”
Lok Jack is chairman of Guardian Holdings and Neal and Massy, while Riley is the chairman and chief executive officer of energy giant, bpTT. Ramnath said Lok Jak had found a way to buy a plane in a conspiracy that took away any liability from the Government where the deal gives the impression the plane is for rent in a break even arrangement.
He stormed: “Lok Jak is unfit to be chairman of Caribbean Airlines.”
Ramnath mused that Imbert gave the impression the US$63 million was not in support of any decision to buy the plane, but noted Lok Jak had contrarily said the money was in fact a downpayment. Ramnath asked whether Imbert was saying he didn’t know why the money was paid to CA.
Imbert replied that the Cabinet supports the decision to acquire the aircraft but the money has not yet been paid to the manufacturers.
Ramnath retorted: “What does it matter if the money has been paid or not?”
He said no-one believes Imbert when he says no agreements have been made but that has been taken up to “give to Mr Lok Jak and his boys.”