Chaguanas East MP Fazal Karim yesterday appealed to the People’s National Movement Government (PNM) to hold its hand on the $3 million upgrade of the Chaguaramas Golf Course and instead reopen the $63 million University of T&T (UTT) Aviation Campus in Couva which could earn valuable foreign exchange.
Delivering his budget contribution in Parliament, Karim described the campus as a gold mine for foreign exchange, which the Government could capitalise on.
Karim said the PNM in its 2015 manifesto identified aviation as having a successful penetration of international market, which they promised to support.
He said in 2016, the PNM in its draft estimate document promised to undertake upgrade at the Couva aviation campus at $166.5 million with construction of hangar, simulator, teaching and workshop buildings, but not a cent was allocated nor was its sewer system, electricity or water connected.
The same thing happened in 2017, Government allocated money for its upgrade but not a dime was spent.
“Why are you starving it (campus) is it because you don’t like the slogan from “Cutting Cane to Flying Plane? Or is it because it is in a UNC constituency? Why are you leaving it in bush?”
In the 2018 draft estimate, Karim said the Government pledged that the aviation institute will serve to help reduce expenditure for training of nationals abroad.
Karim said the facility can accommodate ten helicopters, five ATRs aircraft and a Boeing 737 jet.
“If that facility in Campden could land a Boeing 727 jet, the ATRs can land there. We seem to be sitting down and complaining on oil prices when we could be utilising our resources to create jobs for the people of country and earn foreign exchange.”
If the Government is short on cash, Karim said they can repave the campus’ runway and charge all aircraft owners and operators, who currently use the airstrip free of charge.