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Canadian airborne surveillance company detects illegal Venezuelan fishing vessels; helps EPA develop offshore oil framework

Chief Executive Officer of Roraima Airways, Gerry Gouveia and PAL Aerospace’s Director, Jason Connolly sign a memorandum of understanding. Witnessing the signing were PAL’ and Roraima representatives including Capt. Gouveia Jr. and Omar Khan (both at right).

A Canadian airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance company has demonstrated to Guyanese security and environmental agencies its cabilities to  help combat illegal fishing, drug trafficking and other illegal activities, official said Friday night.

PAL Aerospace, which Friday night signed a memorandum of understanding with Roraima Airways, has  shown the Guyana Defence Force, Guyana Police Force, Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit and the Environmental Protection Agency what it could do.

Capt Gerry Gouveia Jr. told an event at which a memorandum of understanding was signed, that sophisticated  radar equipment aboard one of PAL Aerospace’s Dash 8 planes was able to detect numerous Venezuelan vessels fishing in Guyana’s waters within a 10 mile radius of Guyana’s coast. “We have a lot of boats, from Venezuela, from outside of our country fishing illegally right off of our shore. And, what PAL was able to do in a matter of minutes was identify and clearly mark all of these vessels,” he said

The equipment was able to clearly pick up the names of the vessels, the activities of persons aboard, the exact grid reference of each vessel and the time of the day. “That information is what Guyana can use moving forward in maintaining our sovereignty for the maritime coast,” he said.Chief Executive Officer of Roraima Airways Inc; Gerry Gouveia Snr. said PAL’s technology picked up 50 or 60 vessels fishing illegally in Guyana’s waters and “robbing the country of millions of dollars of resources every year

In the area of marijuana growing, the younger Gouveia said the PAL aircraft had identified several fields that allowed police and soldiers to take the necessary action.

Gouveia remarked that its agreement with PAL Aerospace would allow the use of modern technologies to augment Roraima Airways’ surveillance, medivac, and logistical support to mining companies. “What PAL has to offer Guyana is needed. It’s not even a want any more. We need this to protect our borders, we need this to stop drug trafficking in Guyana, we need this to stop piracy that’s happening on the Suriname border, we need this to protect our fishing industry,” he said.

The Roraima Airways official added that PAL Aerospace would be able to provide environmental monitoring. PAL officials said they have already done free work for the Environmental Protection Agency by creating a framework to understand the Environmental Impact Assessment that has been done at the Liza offshore oil field by ExxonMobil.

PAL Aerospace Director, Jason Connolly told the event that for the past 20 years his company has worked in the Caribbean. “In Guyana, PAL has worked with the EPA and helped them develop a robust environmental plan for Guyana’s oil sector,” he said.

Chairman of Guyana’s Private Sector Commission (PSC), Eddie Boyer welcomed PAL Aerospace’s presence here in the context of piracy, drug trafficking, border issues and oil exploration and production activities.

The Canadian High Commission’s Trade Commissioner, Anand Harilall remarked that Canada is interested in genuine business partnerships with Guyanese entities to develop the local oil and gas sector . “We are not interested in coming in here, taking over the market or setting up shop. That’s not our model of a market at all. It’s one whereby we are going to forge relationships, build capabilities within the local industries and together we access the opportunities and its a win-win approach for all,”

PAL Aerospace has been briefing top private sector and government officials about the available technologies to assist with environmental protection, security and illegal fishing.