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Airport manager denies resignation

Francette-Williams has denied reports of resigning from the airport job

There are conflicting reports about the status of the embattled General Manager of the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA), Wendy Francette-Williams.

Civil Aviation Minister Dr. Clarice Modeste Curwen announced on national radio Tuesday that Francette-Williams had handed in a letter of resignation that will take effect at the end of the month but the General Manager is saying she has not done so.

When THE NEW TODAY contacted the Trinidad-born General Manager, she said she has not resigned from her position and is on vacation for three months.

An acting General Manager, former Board Chairman, Joan Gilbert, was installed at MBIA Tuesday after the resolution of a major problem that had resulted in the downgrading of the airport and the halting of service by some international airlines.

Francette-Williams said she would not speak to the media at this time and that “at the appropriate time I will say something”.

When pressed to comment on the Minister’s statement that she had resigned, the airport manager stated that she was unaware of Dr. Modeste-Curwen’s statements made on GBN’s “To the Point” programme.

“I didn’t even know she (the Minister) said that. I am on vacation until January. I am really not going to say anything at this time,” she said.

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Francette-Williams, who has been managing the airport for the last seven years did say that her contract had ended some time ago.

“I don’t have a contract with them (MBIA) since last year. It is just month to month,” she remarked.

After the MBIA downgrading in early October because firefighting aggregates were not available, fingers began pointing at the airport’s management team and the incident has been widely viewed as a huge embarrassment to the island.

The problem was resolved on October 22 and the MBIA’s readiness status was upgraded to category nine.

The Civil Aviation Minister said the incident is being investigated and action will be taken if it is found that changes are required to improve.

The Trinidadian-born Francette-Williams was asked if she is concerned that her management performance is being brought into question over the incident.

She was adamant that she would not offer further explanations at this time, adding that, “They could say anything they want out there.”

A former Board Chairman described Francette-Williams as a “good manager” and one who was “efficient on the job”.

He said he suspected that the MBIA General Manager took the fall for someone who slipped up on the Fire-fighting aggregates issue.

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