The board of Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) did not meet yesterday as scheduled because vice-chairman Mohan Jaikaran and other directors were absent.Jaikaran, who is also the chairman of WIN Communications Ltd (WINTV), was among five directors who were a no-show yesterday.The other absentee directors were Gizelle Russell, Avedanand Persad, Venosh Sagewan-Maraj and the Jamaican representative, Dennis Lalor.
T&T Guardian learned chairman Rabindra Moonan was the lone director who turned up at CAL yesterday after the board meeting was cancelled.An exclusive T&T Guardian story yesterday reported that Jaikaran had requested 19 complimentary tickets for a Mother's Day concert scheduled for New York City and Toronto this weekend.
After the publication of the article yesterday, a number of people telephoned the T&T Guardian to complain the next available flight to John F Kennedy International Airport was on May 26.Several questioned whether they were "bumped off" flights to facilitate Jaikaran's request.When the T&T Guardian called to ask about flights to New York, a reservation clerk confirmed the next available flight was on May 26.
Contacted yesterday, Moonan confirmed that the board meeting did not take place."Two directors called in sick and the other three directors had other engagements," Moonan said.Asked if he was aware that a directive had been given by Jaikaran to issue the 19 complimentary tickets to him, Moonan said: "What I found out is that no directive was given. An application was made for sponsorship for some bands to go to Toronto and New York and it was approved at a management level."
The 19 tickets did not have to go to the board for approval, he said."Management approves that. It would have been between the marketing department and the acting CEO, Robert Corbie."Told that information obtained by the T&T Guardian revealed that Corbie had not approved the 19 complimentary tickets, Moonan replied: "The information you have probably is different to the information that was made available to me."
Performers carded for the concert include Raymond & Dil-E-Nadan, Ravi B & Karma, and KI & 3Veni Band.The concert is being held on Saturday at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel near the Toronto airport and on Sunday (Mother's Day) at Jamaica Avenue, Richmond Hill, New York. Jaikaran is listed as a co-promoter of the event.
Moonan dismissed the suggestion there might be a conflict of interest between Jaikaran's employment as vice-chairman at CAL and executive chairman of WINTV. "I am not aware there is a conflict of interest. My information is that these particular shows have been going on for the longest while. He has been receiving sponsorship from both BWIA and CAL."
Asked if it was the norm for BWIA or CAL (which replaced BWIA in 2007) to give Jaikaran 19 complimentary tickets, Moonan said: "No, I do not have the exact amount but what I am saying it is part of the normal sponsorship programme."Moonan said last year CAL also sponsored airline tickets for the Olympic team."Last year we approved tickets for the entire Olympic team which is part of our normal management practices."
Moonan said CAL also sponsored airline tickets for two reporters from radio station I95.5 to attend a function in London. He did not disclose their names.He said the airline had also sponsored tickets for the Red Cross Society and various sporting organisations.
Jaikaran did not respond to telephone calls or text messages sent by the T&T Guardian yesterday.