Guyanese will not stand mistreatment any longer
Guyana Chronicle
March 16, 2002

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I have just read an article in the Guyana Chronicle (15/3/02) entitled "Disruptive passenger cannot be kept on board" where Mr. Jerry Gouveia virtually justifies BWIA's and the Royal Barbados Police Force's treatment of Mr. Gaul.

I am appalled, to say the least. But before becoming too emotional I decided to check the dictionary that was closest to hand - Microsoft Office - for the meaning of the word 'disruptive'. Here, the meaning of the word disruptive is given thus: rebellious, seditious, subversive, revolutionary, insurgent, dissident, unruly, treasonous. From accounts of the incident given by both Mr. Gaul and other passengers, I cannot conclude that Mr. Gaul was indeed "disruptive" or posed a threat to the security of aircraft nor its crewand passengers. From all indications, the passenger was merely expressing disgust at the treatment meted out to him by the airline!

This is not the first instance of mistreatment of a Guyanese passenger by the BWIA crew. In fact it is an almost daily occurrence.

I have been a regular passenger on BWIA for many years and have observed the distinct divergence between the quality of service given to Guyanese passengers vis a vis non Guyanese passengers - Europeans in particular.

Maybe Mr. Gouveia is correct in his statement but it is immaterial in this case. The Guyanese passenger will not be 'hoodwinked.' Is Mr. Gouveia suggesting that in the interest of "aviation security" the Guyanese passenger must literally "sit down and shut up" in the face of maltreatment by the BWIA et. al. when the said passenger is not subjected to similar treatment on other airlines or in non Caribbean Countries? Further, if the airline considered the passenger to be "a direct threat to the safety and security of an aircraft ..." and the officers were merely carrying out their duty (1) why was Mr. Gaul allowed to fly subsequently on the same airline? (2) why the haste and extent by BWIA officials to explicate? (3) why were both BWIA and the Barbados Security so apologetic after they realized that the passenger held European citizenship? These responses clearly indicate the esteem with which European passengers are held as against a mere Guyanese!

The time has come when we Guyanese need to settle this issue once and for all! We must let the BWIA, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados understand that Guyanese will not stand for this mistreatment and 'stereotyping' any longer! Guyanese are consumers who pay the same fare (and more!) as other passengers and as such there should be no distinction in the quality of service offered. The CEO of BWIA has reiterated the importance of the Guyanese market to the airline. Were the BWIA allowed to become the flag carrier of Guyana is this an indication of the standard we would have had to tolerate?
J. A. Joseph