Air Ja board stays

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The board of directors of Air Jamaica has been retained temporarily to guide the carrier through its divestment phase.

President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Nobles confirmed that although the tenure of the Air Jamaica board ended midnight last Wednesday, its members have been asked to stay on.

Nobles revealed that Finance Minister Audley Shaw, who has portfolio responsibility for the debt-riddled airline, asked the members to remain.

“The board will stay on for a couple of months … the minister has asked them to stay on through the divestment period,” Nobles told The Gleaner.

He declined to elaborate on the nature of the tenure, saying he was not a member of the Shirley Williams-led board.

Other members include Omar Parkins, Dennis Lalor, Richard Byles, Carolyn Hayle and Wilfred Bagaloo.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding told Parliament last week that the Air Jamaica privatisation team reported to Cabinet on Monday.

“The negotiating partner completed its due diligence on September 12 and Cabinet will shortly make its decision and advise Parliament,” Golding said.

In August, the prime minister told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum that his administration was challenged by the high cost of privatisation.

“The cost for privatising is known, it’s close to $200 million and the question is whether that can be accommodated within the kind of fiscal realities of this year,” Golding explained.

He said the cost of not privatising was not really known as the losses could not be predicted.