The Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT) board is yet to be appointed.
Sources say the previous board, which was chaired by Trevor Benjamin, expired on January 2 and currently, decisions pertaining to tenders and other matters involving the affairs of Piarco International and ANR Robinson Airports are at a standstill.
Contacted by the Sunday Express, Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz said: “We are working on getting it done.”
Cadiz was asked if he recommended former Tourism Development Company (TDC) chairman Brian Frontin for the AATT chairman’s post but the minister denied this.
Asked if previous members of the board will be retained, Cadiz said he could not say since the decision was for Cabinet.
Sources told the Sunday Express the services of Benjamin and deputy chairman Carol Cuffy-Dowlath will not be retained.
However, other board members Judith Baliram Ramoutar, Rishi Mahadeo, Premchan Sahadeo, Ruthven Goddard and Carlisle Mark will have their appointments renewed.
Sources further said Maria Gonsalves, who resigned from the board in order to pursue her studies abroad, will also be returning.
The Sunday Express was told Frontin was nominated by Cadiz to head the board but faced opposition from Tourism Minister Chandresh Sharma.
Contacted last week, Sharma said he was
not in a position to answer as he was currently out of the country. “I am in Spain on a conference. I have no idea what is going on over there (in T&T),” he said.
Asked whether he recommended Michael Aboud of Amalgamated Secu-
rity Services Ltd for the post at AATT, Sharma said he could not comment before disconnecting the call.
The AATT board has been marred with controversy over the past two years.
Last year, Cadiz faced strong opposition from members of the AATT board over plans to appoint Frontin as a consultant. Frontin was named by Cadiz last year as the interim acting general manager of AATT.
Following the announcement, board member Susan Charles-Sylvester resigned, deeming Frontin’s appointment illegal since he did not have a master’s degree and was said to not have experience in dealing with issues related to airport management.
The master’s degree is a requirement for the position.
Frontin’s appointment was short-lived as less than 24 hours later, it was rescinded.
Sources say within one day, Cadiz directed a new consulting position be made for Frontin. Members of the board were given copies of the job specifications and contract but they have refused to sign off.
A copy obtained by the Sunday Express
showed Frontin’s services were to be retained for six months. A monthly compensation package of $54,500 was also proposed.
Frontin’s appointment as acting general manager followed the resignation of former general manager Dayanand Birju on Septem-
ber 17. Birju, in his resignation letter, said he resigned due to personal reasons. However, an investigation undertaken by the Sunday Express revealed Birju had tendered a falsified certificate. This matter is engaging the attention of the police.
Prior to Birju’s resignation, former AATT deputy chairman Kurt Ajodha also resigned.