The Guyana government should lobby Suriname to encourage SLM to expand its services from Guyana to major hubs

Dear Editor,

The CEO of SLM Surinam Airways said some time ago that the success of its investment in Guyana and future expansion from Guyana to Toronto and New York City depend on the cooperation of the Government of Guyana. Hence, it would make sense if Guyana were to urgently lobby the Government of Suriname by offering major incentives or even some sort of subsidy to encourage SLM to expand its services from Guyana to other major hubs. Sadly, SLM is still waiting on the Guyana government to talk business on expanding  to Toronto and New York City.

No doubt it was a great move that the Government of Guyana embraced Caribbean Airlines (CAL) after  EZjet services to Guyana was suspended by  the US and Canadian Departments of Transportation leaving thousands of passengers stranded as the Christmas season approaches. When this is all over, air fares from NY, Toronto and Port of Spain to Guyana will soar again. This raises the question, what is the Government of Guyana doing to solve this dilemma in the long term?

Obviously, Jet Blue, British Airways, KLM or American Airlines aren’t entering the Guyana market. It would make sense to work with what Guyana has now, and SLM is backed by the Government of Suriname. Further, the economy of Suriname is growing strong, and the pro-Guyana government in Paramaribo seeks South-South cooperation which works in Guyana’s favour. SLM’s product is by far the best in the Caribbean. They have the best food and cabin services in the Caribbean. Their service is far superior to that of Delta, Caribbean Airlines, American Airlines and other carriers servicing the region.

And as the Suriname tourism industry grows, as we are witnessing, SLM will expand. Another reputable carrier, Dutch Antillean Express (DAE) enters the Suriname market next week, offering daily service between Suriname and Curaçao at a low fare of US$150 roundtrip.

The time has come for the Government of Guyana to stop supporting and associating itself with dodgy fly-by-night carriers such as Universal and EZjet.  Corruption in Guyana and among some Guyanese  entrepreneurs overseas has been growing at an embarrassing speed. Naturally, people are blaming the Government of Guyana for the  EZjet fiasco because the PPP regime decided to stick its head in the sand and continue lambasting the opposition and the media for stalling Guyana’s economic development. The PPP regime needs to understand that as civil society takes root in Guyana, and now that  Guyana  has a real opposition, they  will have to succumb to the new political landscape instead of trashing everyone who condemns corruption.

Yours faithfully,
Ray Chickrie

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