June 25, 2008

Jamaican Government Demands Resignation of Air Jamaica Directors

Text of report by Caribbean Media Corporation news agency website on 25 June

Kingston, Jamaica: The Jamaica government has demanded the resignation of the entire Board of Directors of the cash-strapped national airline, Air Jamaica.

A letter signed by the Minister without Portfolio in the Finance Ministry, Don Wehby, has been sent to the airline. Wehby, who is out of the island, has already indicated that he would meet with the sacked board members on his return on Friday.

The move comes a few days after Prime Minister Bruce Golding bemoaned the airline's continued drain on the country's resources.

Media reports said that the board had been divided over a decision to grant a 14 per cent salary increase to some categories of workers.

Meanwhile, the National Workers Union (NWU) has called an emergency meeting for later on Wednesday to discuss the situation. The union said it is concerned that the new board could rescind the salary increases for the workers.

"It must be an issue of incompetence or perhaps not following policy directives, but this has certainly placed a cloud over the airline. The morale of the workers is very low. I really believe at this time that a statement is needed from the government," said NWU president Vincent Morrison.

The Jamaica government has already announced plans to divest the airline by March next year.

Last year, Air Jamaica lost US170m dollars, and this year it is projected to lose another US200m dollars.

Originally published by Caribbean Media Corporation news agency website, Bridgetown, in English 2020 25 Jun 08.

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