Caribbean aviation oversight body in ‘roadmap’ visit

Guyana’s effort to achieve compliance with international aviation standards was discussed on Wednesday when a team from the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) met with President Donald Ramotar, along with Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Robeson Benn and local aviation officials at the Office of the President.

A release for the Government Information Agency (GINA) said that Chairman of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Board, Hugh Denbow indicated that the CASSOS officials visited Guyana for three days to liaise with local experts, and assist with ongoing efforts to craft a “roadmap” which will serve as a guide to take the local aviation sector forward as it moves towards compliance with higher internationally standards.

The team comprised the Chief Executive Officer of CASSOS Captain Gregory Fox, Chairman of CASSOS and Director General of Trinidad and Tobago’s Civil Aviation Authority Ramesh Lutchmedial. Director General Zulficar Mohamed and General Counsel Amanza Desir of the GCAA were the local officials attending the meeting.

GINA said that Minister Benn indicated that the government was keen on ensuring that the local aviation sector was operating to the highest international standards. He said that the government was committed to fulfilling its obligations, particularly in terms of achieving compliance with several international standards, treaties and obligations with respect to aviation operations in Guyana.

When asked about Guyana’s state of compliance, the minister confessed that there was a lot of work to be done, but he was optimistic that the sector will be successful, once projects such as the expansion of Ogle and the Cheddi Jagan International Airports, and several other measures including the training and hiring of competent staff and acquisition of the necessary equipment, are completed.

According to GINA, Benn said that Guyana has to get to ‘Level 1’ in keeping with CASSOS and International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) standards. He explained, “It is a lot of work, but we are looking to achieve our goal within the next two years.”

Denbow indicated that the team was pleased that the president had committed to ensuring that all the interventions necessary will be made by the government in order to meet the internationally required standards.

Spokesman for the Aircraft Owners Association of Guyana (AOAG) Kit Nascimento recently renewed a call for the GCAA to hire a qualified flight operations inspector. “Until such time that the GCAA engages the services of a qualified flights operations inspector they will not be fully equipped to regulate the industry.” He also said that investigations of aircraft incidents should be done independently of the GCAA.

Nascimento had said, “What should be in place is a totally independent investigating body. The GCAA themselves when there is an accident, should be subject to the investigation because they are the regulatory and administrative agency and therefore would be investigating themselves.” He added that it was the practice worldwide that there would be an investigation independent of the civil agency.

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