Last Updated on Sunday, 29 December 2019, 13:38 by Writer
The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has ordered the Eugene F. Correia ‘Ogle’ International Airport (EFCIA) to stop issuing protocol passes in the wake of their use by a Canadian High Commission security officer and a supporter of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to escort Charrandass Persaud to a Barbados-bound plane.
The EFCIA and PPP’s Peter Ramsaroop are at odds over whether Ramsaroop had stated that he had been at the airport along with the security officer, Richard Beliveau.
“Mr. Beliveau presented himself and his Ministry of Foreign Affairs ID Card to the Airport Duty Officer and requested a pass to accompany a passenger to the aircraft. Mr. Peter Ramsaroop also requested a pass saying he was part of Mr. Beliveau’s party,” the airport management company, Ogle Airport Inc. said in a statement.
However, Ramsaroop denied saying so to the Airport duty officer. “No. The guy even said he had nothing to do with me. I requested a pass to escort Mr Persaud. I used my Guyana ID (identification) so was no way related to any diplomatic…”, he told Demerara Waves Online News.
Ogle Airport spokesman, Kit Nascimento later told Demerara Waves Online News that video surveillance recordings show that Ramsaroop and Beliveau arrived in separate vehicles and were at all time together. While Nascimento conceded that the photographic/ video recorded evidence could not show what was told the Airport Duty Officer, he vouched for the accuracy of that officer’s account what was told to her.
The airport company noted that the passes were issued to the Canadian High Commission official and Ramsaroop in keeping with “established courtesy practice” as is requested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and “extended to diplomatic personnel.” “The passes were duly returned in exchange for their respective ID documents on their departure from the Airport.”
Ogle Airport Inc., which is “responsible for the control of entry into the Restricted Areas and the Prohibited Areas of the Airport”, sought to assure that no security protocol was breached at the EFCIA based on its Airport Operations Manual approved by the GCAA.
The airport company said both Mr. Beliveau and Mr. Ramsaroop, as well as Mr. Charandas Persaud, were subjected to full and complete screening before entering the Departure Lounge in accordance with the requirements of the Aviation Security Programme approved by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.”
However, the airport authority has ordered that the protocol passes not be used for the time being. “The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority have since conducted a Security Assessment into the matter and have since directed the Airport to suspend the issuance of Protocol Passes until this system is further reviewed,” the Airport said.
Persaud left on a LIAT flight to Barbados on December 22, 2019, several hours after he voted in favour of an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion.
Ramsaroop said he accompanied Persaud because he was fearful of being assassinated following assaults in the House and verbal threats. “On the 21st day of December, by request of Mr. Charrandass, I accompanied him to the Eugene Correia Airport and I immediately sought permission from the Airport manager to aide the safety of Mr. Charrandass until he was safely on the aircraft,” he said. Ramsaroop added that “Given our history as it relates to the assassination of the Honourable Walter Rodney, Mr. Charrandass felt that he may have been assassinated that night because he voted against the APNU PNC Government who he believed are corrupt, heartless, incompetent and unfit and improper to govern Guyana.”