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Ogle Airport to soon have a review panel

Ogle Airport Inc. on Thursday said that its lease agreement with the Guyana government only provides for a review panel, a mechanism that Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson said a legal consultant has recommended.

Asked how alleged anti-competitive behaviours by the Correias at the Eugene F. Correia “Ogle” Airport are being addressed, Patterson said a review of the lease agreement has pointed to the need for a mechanism to address concerns.

“The report highlighted what is known- the need for the establishment of the review committee,” Patterson told a news conference. He said the “airport review authority” was one of several systems that should have been put in place in accordance with the lease agreement but were never.

One of them, he said, refers to the need for consultation with the review authority should OAI need to expand or if there is an objection.  Patterson signaled that government would  be willing to do infrastructure work at Ogle Airport rather than just leaving it up to OAI to fund it “which might not be to the advantage of the smaller players.”

He said consultations would be held with stakeholders in another four weeks to pave the way for the establishment of the review authority. Interested parties include OAI, National Air Transport Association (NATA) and the Aircraft Owners Association of Guyana (AOAG).

OAI spokesman, Christopher “Kit” Nascimento stressed that the “very comprehensive” lease agreement caters for a review panel to review progress on the obligations by the Guyana government and the OAI, and make recommendations about the performance of those obligations.

He said OAI has long been knocking at the door of the past and current administrations to set up the review panel but with no success. Nascimento also flayed government for not involving the OAI in the review of the lease agreement. However, Patterson said earlier Thursday that government deliberately did not consult with stakeholders at this stage because it was only for the benefit of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. “You may question why the draft was not discussed prior to being finalized. It is a report on behalf of GCAA and on behalf of the Ministry and it was very specific to direct the ministry and GCAA on certain deficiencies,” he said.

The Minister assured that all the relevant stakeholders would be consulted after the final report is provided by the consultant, ahead of bringing it to Cabinet’s attention. “After we have received that, then is when we shall discuss it with the stakeholders as opposed to having a document which the stakeholders would have influenced the outcome; that is not the intent of the government,” Patterson added.