GCAA orders Ogle Airport to halt protocol passes

…after Canadian security official escorted Charrandas Persaud to plane
…OAI says no security breach occurred

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has ordered that the Eugene F Correia International Airport stop issuing protocol passes after former parliamentarian Charrandas Persaud was escorted by a Canadian Embassy security officer to a Barbados-bound plane after he voted against the Government in the December 21, 2018 no-confidence motion.
Reports are Persaud, who had expressed fear for his life after having voted against the Government, had contacted the Canadian embassy for assistance. Persaud, a Canadian citizen, was subsequently granted security assistance to the Eugene F International Airport where he boarded a plane bound for Barbados and subsequently went onto Canada.
On Monday, Ogle Airport Inc (OAI) said that it has not breached any security protocols at the Eugene F Correia International Airport as was erroneously reported in the state media.
According to the entity, in the administration of the airport, it is instructed and guided by its Airport Operations Manual approved by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.
The OAI stated that Charrandas Persaud was a passenger on LIAT flight #LI 392 which departed the Eugene F Correia International Airport at 06:17h on December 22, 2018.
The airport authority stated that Persaud’s escorts were Mission Security Officer of the High Commission of Canada, Richard Beliveau and Peter Ramsaroop.
According to the OAI, Beliveau presented himself and his Ministry of Foreign Affairs ID Card to the airport duty officer and requested a pass to accompany a passenger to the aircraft. The OAI stated that Peter Ramsaroop also requested a pass saying he was part of Beliveau’s party. The Airport Duty Officer, in accordance with an established courtesy practice, as is requested to be extended to diplomatic personnel by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, granted a Protocol pass to both persons. The passes were duly returned in exchange for their respective ID documents on their departure from the airport.
“Both Mr Beliveau and Mr Ramsaroop as well as Mr Charrandas Persaud, were subjected to full and complete screening before entering the departure lounge in accordance with the requirements of the Aviation Security Programme approved by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority,” OAI stated on Monday.
Meanwhile, Ramsaroop has since said that he only accompanied the former AFC member since he was fearful for his life.
On December 21, the no-confidence motion brought by the Parliamentary Opposition –the People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C) – against the Government succeeded when former APNU/AFC MP Persaud broke ranks and made a conscience vote in favour of the motion.
After voting in favour of the no-confidence motion, Persaud’s life was threatened twice; he was hit by both colleagues flanking him as well as received many explicit comments within a five-minute period.
This was all done while the National Assembly broadcasted the sitting live on its website. The video which is up on the Parliament website showing clearly what transpired. Persaud received the hostile treatment from his colleagues after he voted his conscience and sided with the Opposition’s motion.
During the final part of the 03h:51m:04s video, during the second part of the debate, when Persaud delivered his first “yes”, all hell broke loose. He received the first punch on his left arm, at 03h:33m:04s in the video, by an APNU MP who insisted that Persaud “can’t vote against the Government.” This was followed by a series of expletives by the same MP and surprisingly Persaud received another punch from another APNU MP at 03h:32m:28s in the video.
Then came the issue of death threats to Persaud. If one listens to the video, you will find that at 03h: 33m: 04s and 03h: 35m: 35s in the video, he receives the threats “Charrandas you gon dead tonight” and “Charrandas you want dead tonight” respectively. It sounded as though the threats came from a female MP on the Government side of the benches.
Despite being accused of being a traitor, Persaud maintained that it was a vote of conscience since he is disappointed in the direction his party is heading. He pointed to the recent statements made by People’s National Congress (PNC) Chairperson Volda Lawrence during which she indicated that she only has friends in the PNC and jobs will be made available for them. That statement, he said, infuriated him, prompting him to write a letter to the AFC’s Executive to make a statement but the party’s leader Raphael Trotman came out in her defence after which she apologised.