In T&T: $80m in rent owed. Over a decade of unpaid $$ to Airports Authority

21 May 2012

Talk about being late with the rent…$80 million over 12 years owed to AATT.

The Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT) is still owed as much as $80 million for over a decade’s worth of unpaid rent, AATT chairman Gerald Hadeed has said.

“It was in excess of $70 to $80 million over the 12-year period,” he said yesterday.

Hadeed made the statement to reporters after the launch of the Authority’s new website at the VIP room in the North Terminal of the Piarco International Airport.

While Hadeed said he was pleased with what has been collected so far, he said he was forced to write off between $5 to $8 million as lost money because the statutory measures for collection ran out. “This goes back 12 years, there is a lot of money that was not collected over a long period of time,” he said.

He said a different method was used to get payments from the renters.

Hadeed said when he took over at the AATT, he realised tenants did not have updated leases.

“We are now in a process of renewing the leases and there was an area we had the opportunity to collect the rents by intimating that your lease will not be renewed unless the rents were paid up to date,” he said. “They realised that we meant business and we meant to collect the money. It is not right that the government put out all this money and people would get a free ride,” he said. “We put a committee in place and we are happy to report that all the current rents are up to date, have been collected and the back rents are being paid in increments,” he said.

Transport Minister Devant Maharaj, who was present at the launch, said there was a planned “facelift” of business activity planned for the airport.

“While we are talking about new technology, we have to remember that we are grounded in a physical reality. It makes no sense to be looking good in cyberspace, but in the current space we need a lot of work,” he said.

With regard to the unpaid rents, Maharaj said he mandated that the new board start collecting money.


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