Caribbean Airlines Replace BeWee (BWIA)

A slimmed down new national carrier of Trinidad and Tobago has taken to the skies. Caribbean Airlines, replaced BWIA, which operated for 66 years, from January 1.

The government, which held more than 97 percent of BWIA’s shares, approved a capital injection of $250m for the creation of the new carrier.  Caribbean Airlines will provide air transport within the Caribbean and to major international cities but on fewer routes than BWIA.  At its closure, BWIA employed about 1,800 people.
Several attempts to turnaround the airline’s fortunes failed, including the severing 600 workers in 2003.
Chief Executive Officer, Peter Davies, said he believed that Caribbean Airlines marked the start of a “new and dynamic era in Caribbean aviation.” He said: “Whatever its ups and downs, its successes and failings, BWIA has generated loyalty, affection and pride.

1 thought on “Caribbean Airlines Replace BeWee (BWIA)”

  1. When in Dec 31st 1994, “OLD BWIA” ended and the new airline “NEW BWIA” began, the CLICO – OLD BWIA 1971 Staff Pension Plan also ended. This 1971 Staff Pension Plan had generated approximately $376 millions (of profit) surplus. Under the Valley Agreement, OLD BWIA workers were to get a third of that surplus in 1995.

    Up to today, it seems that efforts are still being made to deprive OLD BWIA workers of monies from that one third portion of the surplus, namely those monies which were meant to buy (for the OLD BWIA workers) shares amounting to 15.5% of NEW BWIA, with an option to buy a further 10% of NEW BWIA, and to thus become BWIA majority shareholders.

    There are concerns about why CLICO, NEW BWIA, the plan actuary Buck Consultants and WISE (West Indies Stockbrokers Limited), and others … are keeping NEW BWIA Valley Agreement “Shares” information secret from the OLD BWIA workers who have a right to know where their monies (tens of millions of dollars) went more than 15 years ago. The Unions have asked by writing and not received a reply. A veil of secrecy gives the impression that there is something to hide.

    Last year, in the newspapers there was an offer of an ex-gratia payment 20 cents per share to all BWIA minority shareholders and former employees. Many names were included of persons who never bought BWIA shares. It appears that there is a deliberate to confuse {A} {BWIA shareholders and former employees who bought out of their own pocket “BWIA shares” sold on the local stock exchange, (April, 1999)}, with (B) [CLICO – OLD BWIA 1971 Staff Pension Plan Surplus members who were entitled to the March 29th 1995, “Valley Agreement NEW BWIA Shares” which never came to pass].

    Members of the 1971 Staff Pension Plan could not have bought “March 29th 1995, Valley Agreement NEW BWIA Shares” because the Shares part of the “March 29th 1995, Valley Agreement” was never honoured. For the entire time since March 29th 1995, OLD BWIA workers never received NEW BWIA shareholder benefits. “Valley Agreement NEW BWIA Shares” certificates were never issued to those OLD BWIA workers. OLD BWIA workers were never invited to a NEW BWIA shareholders meeting.

    Mr. Jerry Hospedales, Chairman, BWIA West Indies Airways Limited, C/o The Divestment Secretariat Ministry of Finance, Eric Williams Financial Complex, Independence Square might shed light on this.

    It is my feeling that OLD BWIA workers should therefore not be made to pay for shares that they never received.

    Based on the above, the monies of the OLD BWIA 1971 Staff Pension Plan members (valued at $1USD for each Valley Agreement NEW BWIA Share), which were withheld from those same members for the purpose of buying NEW BWIA shares, should be returned to those same members.



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