Cash-jet pilot proposes govt’s use of hangar; new application for injunction filed against CJIA

The hangar at Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

The hangar at Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

Even as a legal battle continues over the cash-jet pilot’s hangar at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Captain Khamraj Lall is proposing to make the facility available for use by the Guyana government to allow the company to recover its more than GYD$600 million investment, according to well-placed sources.

In the latest High Court case to have been filed by Lall, through his brother, as power-of-attorney, the CJIA is maintaining that Lall and Exec Jet Services have no legal right to the hangar since the three-year lease expired on October 14, 2015. Lall cannot leave the United States (US) because he is serving a one-year sentence for bulk-cash smuggling and he is awaiting sentence on cocaine trafficking charges.

Sources said that Lall’s lawyers have asked the CJIA to settle the matter by transferring the ownership of the hangar to another company to be controlled by Lall’s brother, Balram.

The proposal has been made to the CJIA Board of Directors, but Lall’s lawyers said Tuesday that they are yet to receive a response. Lall wants to rent the government the hangar through a new company at agreed rates and also be allowed to offer a range of services to the private sector. Those services could include the storage of aircraft, handling of flights, cargo-handling for aircraft, provision of flight crews, fuelling and catering.

The proposal comes at a time when the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is seeking temporary accommodation for at least six months pending the repair of its hangar located west of the CJIA’s Arrival and Departure Complex.  One option, sources said, that could be explored is allowing the GDF’s Air Corps to use the hangar free of cost with all safeguards from future legal action against the airport.

The High Court, meanwhile, is set to hear arguments for Lall’s application for an injunction to restrain the CJIA from terminating the license under which he formerly operated and to presumably prevent the corporation from issuing a new license.

CJIA’s Attorney-at-Law, Andrew Pollard told Demerara Waves Online News that his client was “strenuously denying the application” that is based on a misconception that the license is valid although it expired last year October.

Lall, through his brother as power-of-attorney, opted to apply for an injunction after High Court Judge, Diana Insanally in February of this year blocked Deolall Gangadin from continuing the operations of Exec Jet Club after it was found that he had misrepresented to the court that he had been the owner of the entity. The court had found that Gangadin had been merely an occasional power of attorney to act as manager whenever Lall was overseas flying.

Lall is contending that the first three years had been given to complete and fit the GYD$600 million hangar and it was envisaged that more time was needed to recover the investment. “We need time beyond that we need sufficient time to recover the investment and make some profit so that the airport couldn’t in fairness deny us,” according to Lall’s representative.

CJIA lawyers had told the High Court that the corporation had refused to renew the agreement with Exec Jet Club because Lall had been arrested in Puerto Rico in November, 2014 after it was found that he had been using the aircraft to transport US$620,000.  In March 2016, he was sentenced to one year  imprisonment, fined US$3,100 and ordered to forfeit the seized cash and a private jet

In July, 2015 he was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and importation of cocaine into the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Marangola, who is handling the case, said that according to the indictment, between December 2013 and February 10, 2015, the defendant conspired to bring more than five kilograms of cocaine from Guyana into the United States.