US-based woman stuck in Guyana after passport disappears at airport

A Berbice-born woman, who returned to Guyana from the United States for the Jubilee celebrations, is now stranded here as on her way out last Saturday, her passport was misplaced after she handed it over to two check-in agents at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri.

The woman, Lilawattie Persaud, 49, who left Number 47 Village, Corentyne about 18 years ago, has been travelling back and forth from Queens, New York to Guyana for many years. However, after her latest experience, she has sworn never to return.

Persaud related to Stabroek News that she arrived at the airport last Saturday at around midday to check in for a flight which was leaving Guyana at 4pm.

Lilawattie Persaud
Lilawattie Persaud

However, the aircraft left without her as during check-in, her passport was misplaced after she handed it to the agents.

“From one table to the next table, the girl and boy that was there, they take the passports from my hand to their counter, then they take the passport and bring it to the next counter while the girl check the foodstuff I was carrying,” she related. “From their hand, it never come back in my hand,” Persaud said.

The woman was travelling with her husband and 18-year-old son, whose passports were returned. Persaud’s husband was then told to go ahead and pay the departure tax for him and the teen while she was told that her passport was missing. Her husband and son refused to board the plane without her.

Persaud said she waited at the airport until evening when everyone started to leave. “I kept asking them if them find it, but them keep telling me give them two minutes,” she recounted. “I tell them look and see the camera must show what happen to the passport because the camera was right overhead,” she said. She related that after the personnel checked the cameras, they told her they saw nothing.

The woman recalled that she broke down in tears and one attendant told her: “You don’t have to cry, it’s not the end of the world.”

After waiting for hours, Persaud was escorted to the Timehri Police Station to make a report of the missing passport. She then had to hire a vehicle which cost $30,000 to take her to Number 47 village.

After searching unsuccessfully for a travelling document that would permit her to return to the US, Persaud contacted Gobin Harbhajan, the representative of the Prime Minister in Region Six. He told Stabroek News that he contacted the US Embassy and a date for an interview for new travel documents for Persaud was set.

The woman will have to provide additional documents to acquire the new set of travel documents but she is all too willing as all she wants “is to go back home.” Persaud is also worried about her and her husband’s jobs as she was supposed to return to work last Monday while her husband was supposed to return last Sunday.

“Me a study we jobs, plus me son got to go back, he took two weeks off to come with us and he got to go back to start a course,” she said. Persaud, who travels annually to Guyana added that “when I go over back, me never a come back.”

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