“It has never been a one-way street” – President Ali tells Caribbean Airlines

…says relationship must be reciprocal

“We are aware that Caribbean Airline Limited (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 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) would have appreciated this.”
Those were the sentiments expressed by President Dr Irfaan Ali during a virtual meeting on Friday with executive members of CAL to discuss the existing challenges and ways of strengthening the company’s partnership with Guyana.
The President highlighted the fact that although CAL is currently cutting costs, more local content can be engaged on the company’s part.

President Irfaan Ali along with Guyana’s delegation – Public Works Minister Juan Edghill and Tourism Industry and Commerce Minister Oneidge Walrond – and CJIA CEO Ramesh Ghir at the meeting on Friday

“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,” Guyana’s Head of State said, adding that he was sure to make note of the fact that during the pandemic, the relationship between Guyana and CAL continued, since Guyana was kept relatively open and CAL’s operations were sustained.
It is under these circumstances, he noted, that he wanted to engage the airline 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,” Ali said.

Legacy carrier
Meanwhile, in his remarks, CAL’s Chairman of the Board, Ronnie Mohammed, stated 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.
Additionally, CEO Garvin Medera assured the President that CAL is “very willing” to continue with the push to support local content in Guyana.
He revealed that prior to the pandemic, the airline had been in the process of hiring Guyanese but was forced to cut back on staffing.
Also at the meeting on Friday were Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, along with Tourism Industry and Commerce Minister Oneidge Walrond, Minister within the Public Works Ministry Deodat Indar, National Security Advisor Gerry Gouveia and Cheddi Jagan International Airport CEO Ramesh Ghir along with representatives of CAL, General Manager Carl Stuart, Chairman of the Board Ronnie Mohammed, CEO Garvin Medera and Chief Commercial Officer Yannis Gounaris.
The Ministers present at the meeting are expected to engage at the technical level in creating a cohesive plan that sees to the strengthening of the partnership, while examining the opportunities ahead.
This, the President noted, will help build trust and improve services in the eyes of 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,” he said.