The sad fate of GA2000
Stabroek News
July 30, 2001

Dear Editor,

The silence about the final fate of the once-national airline is indeed deafening. I came across an earlier copy of the Guyana Chronicle(July 14,2001 with the emblazoned red headline - "Government will not bail out GA2000 because it is a private company".

Strange remarks when it is known that the Government owns 49 percent of the company on behalf of the people of Guyana, in whose name the airline was being managed as a people-owned entity for as long as those of us with sense can remember.

The article also stated, quite curiously, that "President Jagdeo, in a humanitarian gesture, moved to help stranded passengers return to North America, following an appeal by them."Some 300 passengers. It was also learnt that hundreds were also left abroad and have had to suffer hardships as well; and that no provision was made for them.

Unless I am badly mistaken isn't there supposed to be some provision in place whereby an airline being established must have a certain amount of funds in escrow to ensure that, if it finds itself disastrously "belly-up", this contingency fund would kick in and take care of this sudden financial and social disaster for so many.

I have also been told that one of the initial principals had been involved in this same type of airline-belly-up scenario with a questionable former fly-by-night charter-type airline that he had then foisted on the Guyana public, without adequate safeguards. History seems to have been repeating itself with similar disastrous results for the flying public.

Question is: Did whatever arm of the government which oversees such procedures ensure that all requisite I's were dotted and T's crossed, before giving the O.K. nod of approval to those who convinced them that they could run an airline?

Isn't it horrendous that other than those left stranded high and dry and begging a lodging and whatever else, there is the other added personal distresses of some 130 airline employees left callously to face the breadline; after being told first that they will be sent on "leave without pay"(the presumption) and then having to brace themselves after the shock of being given termination letters, when they were asked to a meeting. They coming with high hopes of good news, after endless days and weeks of frenetic worry, not only about their livelihood but about the fate of their many dependants.

The Chronicle went on to report that "President Bharrat Jagdeo was yesterday adamant that the Government was 'not going to use taxpayers money to bail out the airline' which is privately owned". But the government made the decision to hold on to 49 percent and to "tie bundle" with the businessmen who were able to convince them that they knew what they were doing.

Yours faithfully,

Lorri Alexander