Senator Vieira: World respects TT for aviation

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Independent senator Anthony Vieira makes his point during the the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill at senate. 2022.11.15 – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

INDEPENDENT Senator Anthony Vieira supported the Civil Aviation (Amendment) Bill 2022 on Tuesday in the Senate by saying how globally respected were TT’s pilots and aviation professionals. He said at international aviation conferences, TT enjoys deference from aviation bodies, airlines and governments due to the work of the CAA which met stringent requirements.

The CAA has quietly trained other aviation bodies in the region and providing aviation services, he added.

Vieira said, “Members of the CAA board are called upon to consider pressing and often very complex issues ranging from air traffic control, airline personnel, aircraft engineering and even matters of national security. Board members therefore must be able to understand the jargon of international aviation law and the underlying purpose of the aviation regulations.

“They need to be proficient in a very specialised industry.” To underline his point, he held up a notably thick binder containing the Civil Aviation Act and its Regulations.

Independent senators Charrise Seepersad, left, and Deoroop Temal have a conversation during the the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill at senate. 2022.11.15 – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

Vieira said why he supported the amendment to extend the time a member could stay on the CAA board.

“Unfortunately the law as it stands requires members to demit office just at the time when they are starting to get proficient and a good grasp and understanding of the application and the influence of international aviation legal framework and the underlying purpose for particular rules and regulations.” He said that limit wasn’t good for the CAA nor TT.

Vieira said the bill does not mandate that a member be re-appointed, but just makes them eligible to be.

“There’s a difference between eligible and bound. All this amendment does is allow for options.”

He said a member can resign at any time or if falling afoul of the act can be removed by the President of the Republic.

Vieira, in an aside, lamented low morale among CAA staff whose last pay rise was in 2010. He urged, “This is shameful and must be addressed.”