Govt not ruling out buying aircraft as charter cost soars

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 March 2016, 13:11 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana government has been told that it should consider buying its own fleet of aircraft because it is too expensive to charter planes to shuttle government officials across the country and overseas, a senior government official said Wednesday.

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, who  hosted a post-cabinet news briefing,  said he was unaware of a plan by the 10-month old coalition administration to buy an aircraft  for use by the President and ministers. “Not to my knowledge but all things are possible,” he said.

Trotman, however, recalled that Finance Ministry official, Tarachand Balgobin suggested during  2016 budgetary preparation talks with him that government should consider purchasing aircraft due to the high level of travel by representatives of the Ministries of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Communities.

“He (Balgobin) said from a cost-benefit analysis it seemed best and, in fact, he said he would investigate whether or not it made sense for us to own and maintain a fleet of aircraft because the amount that is being spent on charters is high but these are necessary for us to be able to access the ten regions,” Trotman said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News.

The Minister of Natural Resources said the purchasing of aircraft by government was before Cabinet but “nothing is being ruled out.” Asked whether Balgobin’s suggestion was that the aircraft be bought for domestic use, Trotman said “for use.”

Asked whether he favoured Balgobin’s suggestion, Trotman said he is a servant of the government and if the government provides an aircraft he would take it.  “Nothing is before Cabinet but nothing at the same time is being ruled out because that suggestion did come from Mr. Tarachand Balgobin himself.”