GCAA says mandated to probe local aircraft accidents under int’l convention

Guyana, as a party to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, is mandated to have the national regulatory body for civil aviation carry investigations on aircraft accidents, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has said.

In a statement to the media yesterday, the body said that to infer that while conducting an investigation the GCAA is investigating itself is an “obfuscation of the facts”.

In the wake of a series of aviation accidents critics have asked for an independent body to investigate the cause of accidents, while calling for the recruitment of a qualified Flight Operations Inspector.

Spokesman for the Aircraft Owners Association of Guyana (AOAG) Kit Nascimento has stated that the GCAA should be also be subjected to investigation whenever there was an aircraft accident because it is the regulatory civil aviation body and would essentially be investigating itself.

He had added that it is a practice worldwide that there would be an investigation independent of the civil agency.

The GCAA said its statement yesterday was to “clear up several misconceptions being peddled in the public domain concerning the function of the authority in relation to accident and incident investigations.”

The statement said: “Guyana as a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation is mandated to carry out a safety investigation in conformity with the protocols and procedures set out in Annex 13 to that Convention. It must be made clear that this Annex 13 investigation is a safety investigation with the sole objective of preventing accidents and incidents. It is not the purpose of this type of activity to apportion blame or liability. These types of investigations are usually carried out by the national regulatory body for civil aviation. This is the practice internationally; Guyana is no different in this regard.

“The Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations of 1982 makes provision for the appointment of an Inspector of Accidents for the purposes of carrying out an investigation into the circumstances and causes of accidents and incidents arising out of or in the course of air navigation, which occur to civil aircraft in or over Guyana, or elsewhere to civil aircraft registered in Guyana.”

As regards the issue of the employment of a Flight Operations Inspector, the GCAA further indicated that while it does not have a full time in-house inspector one is readily available through the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS). The CASSOS is a body that provides human and technical resources to address existing regional deficiencies in aviation.

“While the GCAA, like other aviation authorities across the region, does not yet have the optimum level of resources, the authority has formed the necessary

relationships that bring to bear any technical and human resources as the need arises,” the statement said, highlighting its affiliation with the CASSOS.

The GCAA was previously staffed with an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) approved Flight Operations Inspector but “certain operators moved to the courts to prevent him from carrying out his functions” and he left, the statement said. It added that since then the GCAA has made endless efforts to recruit another.

Last Saturday a Trans Guyana Airways (TGA) plane crashed in the mid-Mazaruni jungle, killing the pilot Blake Slater and cargo loader Dwayne Jacobs.

With respect to the accident, the GCAA said it has moved swiftly to carry out its mandate as it is required to do under national and international law. “The authority is in contact with the relevant international agencies and has in place all the technical and human resources necessary for the completion of its safety investigation,” the statement said.

Transport Minister Robeson Benn on Wednesday said that aviation authority will be stepping up surveillance of local airlines and their operations—identifying overload as one concern.

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