Greater inclusion of Guyanese in Caribbean Airlines’ operations discussed
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President, Dr. Irfaan Ali; Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill (first from left); Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond and CEO of CJIA, Ramesh Ghir, engage executive members of Caribbean Airlines Limited during a virtual meeting, on Wednesday
President, Dr. Irfaan Ali; Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill (first from left); Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond and CEO of CJIA, Ramesh Ghir, engage executive members of Caribbean Airlines Limited during a virtual meeting, on Wednesday

–as President Ali engages company’s executive members

GREATER inclusion of Guyanese in the work of Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) was among the topics discussed during a virtual meeting among President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, government officials and executive members of the company, on Friday.
The President said that he is aware that CAL has been an outstanding partner of Guyana but it has never been a one-way street.
“We are aware that CAL has been an extremely good partner of Guyana, but you must also accept that Guyana has been an extremely good market for CAL. It has never been a one-way street, it has always been a two-way street, and all your previous boards and CEOs would have appreciated this,” President Ali said, noting that there is room for improvement in many areas, including local content.

He added: “I know that you are cutting costs and you are cutting staff, but we would like to see more involvement of Guyanese in the operations, and by that, I mean we are willing to work with you on increasing your footprint and your presence here in Guyana as part of your development plans.”
Additionally, he highlighted the challenges related to frequency and costs of flights to Canada and Miami and the issue of cargo capacity.
The President noted too that during the pandemic, the relationship continued since Guyana was kept relatively open and CAL’s operations were sustained.
“It is under these circumstances that I wanted us to engage and to have a clear understanding as to where CAL is heading… we believe that CAL is a long and strong partner with us, and we need to find a way in which that partnership is demonstrated in a stronger way.”

MORE COLLABORATION
In his remarks, Chairman of the Board of Directors of CAL, Ronnie Mohammed, said that the airline has been a “legacy carrier” into Guyana and that the mutual friendship and relationship between Guyana and Trinidad have been maintained and sustained.
“We are eager and willing to partner deeper with our footprint in Guyana,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CAL, Garvin Medera, assured the President that CAL is “very willing” to continue with the push to support local content in Guyana.
He said that prior to the onset of the pandemic, the airline had started recruiting Guyanese but was forced to cut back on staffing.
Despite the existing challenges, President Ali pointed to the importance of a clear path and plan between the government and CAL, which can be transmitted to consumers.

“We have to grow together. We need to have a technical discussion on the way forward to improve efficiency and to come up with a master plan together to share with the people in demonstration of the partnership,” President Ali said.
He informed the airline officials that moving forward, Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill; Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar and Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, who were all a part of the meeting, will engage them at a technical level to craft a cohesive plan that demonstrates and strengthens the partnership while examining the opportunities ahead.
This, he believes, will contribute to the enhancement of mutual trust and improve services in the eyes of consumers.
Also present at the meeting were National Security Adviser, Captain Gerry Gouveia and CEO of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Ramesh Ghir.
Caribbean Airlines was represented at the meeting by Mohammed; Madera; General Manager, Carl Stuart and Chief Commercial Officer, Yannis Gounaris. (Office of the President)

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