Manning and the Jet Stuck in Public Outcry

by Heru
March 17, 2008

Manning And The JetPatrick Manning and Caribbean Airlines have been facing widespread public outcry over their attempt to purchase a $400 million luxury jet from Bombardier for the government’s official use. Minister of Works Colm Imbert, Minister of Finance Mariano Browne, and Caribbean Airlines’ chairman Arthur Lok Jack have been the main defenders and spokespeople for the government on this issue.

Following public outcry, Colm Imbert stated that the deal was not finalized and that government was insisting on an anti-corruption clause before closing the deal. I immediately thought the government was looking for a face-saving way out of that deal. That deal was made without such concerns as is evident by the fact that a deposit was made on the jet without an agreement on this anti-corruption clause. The government tried to make it appear that the public’s main concern with this deal was with possible kickbacks and the government was insisting on an anti-corruption clause in the contract with Bombardier before finalizing the purchase. The attempt to spin public concerns has failed. The general sentiment of the public is that this expenditure is a waste of taxpayers’ resources especially at a time the country is plagued with so many social ills, including rising crime and cost of food.

The government has already stated that it intends to buy another jet if this deal falls through. They may feel that the public would be receptive to a less expensive jet as has been suggested by Raffique Shah, but I am not.

In my view, the government should not be buying a jet at this time. They have not made the case for it being necessary and they certainly have not been transparent about this deal. In fact, the Minister of Finance Mariano Browne stated on television last week that a cost benefit analysis was done with respect to buying this jet and he would not recommend the details be made public. Someone needs to educate this arrogant minister about the fact that they are using public funds and that government IS accountable to the public.

Before the government considers using taxpayers’ money to buy or even lease a jet, the public should first know the cost of the service. Government transparency should include details of the cost of government travel over the past five to seven years (including charted flights) and the inconveniences they face with their current travel arrangements. Only then can the public consider if buying or leasing a jet is a more efficient use of our resources.

As it stands, this entire affair reeks of a sinister plot to dupe the public into paying for Patrick Manning’s ostentatious fantasies. We should raise our voices in unison and say NO to that.

6 thoughts on “Manning and the Jet Stuck in Public Outcry”

  1. i very well think that the prime minister should have a the number 1 public servant in trinidad and tobago i think his safety should not be compromised . go ahead patrick buy the jet

  2. Anyone with the most basic knowledge of contract law or how business is done knows that this “Anti-corruption” clause is a farce. No company would ever put such a ridiculous clause in it’s contracts. I think Heru is right on the money on this one.

    Think about it, even if that clause were not in the contract and someone got a kickback what difference would it make? It would still be illegal. A clause like that isn’t going to stop someone from breaking the law (typical of this gov’t saying because they can’t pass one bill or the other that crime is out of control). Besides, from the basics of what I’ve read in the papers on the wording of the clause, later on, almost anything could be deemed a kickback, from getting the contract to build the rail system or any other deals done in Trinidad or with the Trinidad gov’t. Bombardier’s lawyers would not be so foolish to accept such a clause unless it’s a watered down version of what the gov’t is touting.

  3. Seems to me that buy the jet is no so much a big deal as how they (the Govt), went about it. I think such an aircraft is needed in the Caribbean as long it can bring returns on the investment but as everything else, we have yet to untangle ourselves from the hold of colonialism by the mere fact that everything that we do in public is ‘discrimatory’ on the surface. Why discriminatory? When you arrive at the airport there are bold signs that reminds the public that they are not to go in some places because the words “VIP” reminds them it is NOT a place for them. “VIP lounge”, “VIP Parking” (mental enslavement). Is’nt that the same as “Colored Only” or “Whites Only” (the mentality of exclusion) greeting us at every turn?. If you want to have a portion of the Airport to greet and entertain honoured guests just secure those areas with locks and security without the external barriers of exclusive words. The jet purchase carries the same connotations. The public outcry is saying the the “big pappies” are not just enriching themselves by providing the luxury of riding high on expensive jets at the public’s expense, but they might be providing “kickbacks” to those (locally) who might be facilitating the deal without thinking about the general public’s interest. So this too, smacks of colonialism, only that black man is doing on black man. Herein lies the contradiction of “independence”, what “independence?”. Government should have shown transparency in dealing with this matter from the beginning, showing maturity in dealing with the public builds confidence in the perception of how business is done, but seemingly shady deals smells stink of the appearance of corruption. Government needs to come clean and not appear to be underhanded in forging forward with this deal.

  4. Nice one Logan. Just like in Animal Farm, Manning and his cohorts are like Napolean and the rest of the pigs.

  5. Jet deal crashes
    US$65m purchase ‘downed’ by corruption clause

    Caribbean Airlines’ proposed executive jet initiative has “crashed” after CA confirmed yesterday it will not be proceeding with the purchase of the controversial jet “at this time.”

    Panday credits people for decision
    Responding on Caribbean Airlines decision not to acquire the jet “at this time,” Panday said: “The government has been forced to back down from this lavish purchase because they could not convince the public that the deal was clean, the purchase necessary and that it was justified, given the prevailing social conditions.”

  6. The good news is Manning listens to the people; Panday and Ramesh would have change the law throw money towards his objectors murdered some in the process and went ahead and buy not one but 2 at the the price of 8.
    Anyway US65M would a state of the art piece of equipment not shown as the the one proposed. There may have been some discrepancies.

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