Jagdeo calls out TT
GEORGETOWN – President Bharrat Jagdeo is calling for an end to what he describes as arduous intransit security checks Guyanese passengers have to endure at the Piarco International Airport in Trinidad and Tobago while en route to other destinations.
Jagdeo told a news conference that the situation was peculiar but contrary to the undignified treatment of other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals at airports which regional leaders have stamped their authority against.
He said that passengers who would have passed security checks at other airports had to endure the process for a second time while intransit in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Guyanese don’t want to intransit by choice, they only go through because the flights come through there. But I’ve seen cases where elderly people, people with children, and so on, coming from New York or Miami to Guyana had to leave the aircraft for one reason or another and go through the entire security again,” Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo expressed disappointment that a promise by Port-of-Spain to fix the situation had not been delivered and blamed the misfortune on the absence of standards that lessen the burden on passengers.
“It is the worst airport in terms of organization . . . it is unacceptable,” Jagdeo said, adding he was prepared for the criticism that would follow.
Jagdeo had also been vocal about the “unconscionable airfare monopoly” by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines (CAL), particularly on Guyanese passengers.
He said that travel from Guyana to Trinidad and Tobago was at one time higher than from Trinidad and Tobago to the United States and the Guyana government had considered the resurgence of a state-owned aircraft if the situation had not improved.
He said it was on this basis that Guyana welcomed the region’s first low-budget airline, REDjet, which began servicing the Guyana route in May.
But REDjet ran into problems as it sought to expand its services to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Jagdeo repeated a statement he made during the just-concluded Caribbean Community summit that he hoped the issue was not one of protectionism.
Jagdeo said he was also concerned that REDjet was being accused of engaging in predatory pricing. (CMC)