A MUTE 15-year- old who frequents the airport and is well-known to the airport community, including security personnel, just missed his chance of migrating to the US.
The youngster eluded airport security, Tropical Airways staff, the airline’s crew and boarded the carrier’s December 16th flight to New York without passport, a visa, tax clearance, travel ticket or other documents.
Tropical officials report that the juvenile probably hid under the seat of its Boeing-707 or in the rear lavatories before making his grand appearance in the forward cabin among startled passengers and scared flight attendants, 60 minutes after takeoff.
He was wearing only a rumpled short pants and an old slipper according to Tropical officials.
“But the frightening aspect about this affair, was that he had a kerosene tin with a strap around his neck. At first the hostesses thought it was some kind of explosive and they were scared to death,” a senior Tropical official told Stabrock News. The tin bearing a plea for financial help for “this poor dumb boy.””
Embarrassed Tropical management have submitted a full report to the Civil Aviation Department which they say has been copied to Prime Minister Hamilton Green.
Police say they gleaned from painstaking investigations involving sign language and written questions, that a passenger on the same flight conspired to smuggle him on board, gave him an unspecified amount of money, helped him to fasten his seat belt then disappeared in the upper cabin after the take-off.
He was rescued by a Kennedy Airport ground staff who saw him wandering about without warm clothing in the freezing December weather, given appropriate clothing, and put up to rest. Tropical says it was forced to buy a Guyana Airways ticket to ensure his return on the national airline the next day.
And again he made a spectacular appearance only this time it was Timehri. Immigration staff told ‘Stabroek News’ that he came off the airline smiling, clad in a new outfit with lots of foodstuff and chocolates and the owner of some US currency.
It is understood that he performed a similar stunt on a GAC domestic flight earlier this year.
Stabroek News has also learnt that the last FAA inspection at Timehri late last year resulted in some criticism of the airport security systems.
Cheddi Sets The Record Straight
Your editorial ‘Regional Integration?’ (December 19, 1986), stated: “Dr. Jagan had not joined the Federation. Some attributed this to him being the odd man out ideologically, others, notably Mr. Eusi Kwayana (then Sydney King) to his unwillingness to be swamped in a predominantly African grouping.”
To set the record straight, I wish to make the following observations:
- I supported fully the decision of the 1945 Montego Bay Conference for a West Indies Federation with Dominion Status and internal self-government for each unit territory.
- After the start of the anti-communist Cold War in 1947, the Caribbean leadership was co-opted, leading to the disbandment of the militant Caribbean Labour Congress (CLC) in 1951, a retrograde step which I tried to prevent.
- The PPP went into the 1953 general elections, which it won with 18 out of 24 seats, in favour of a West Indies Federation, with the proviso that a referendum would be taken before entry. This formula was adopted to take the controversial issue of Federation out of the elections, because the PPP leadership was being attacked by racialists from two sides: the East Indian Association stating that I was selling out to the African L.F.S. Burnham, and the Indians would be swamped in a predominantly African Federation; the League of Coloured People stating that Burnham was selling out to ‘coolie’ Cheddi Jagan. I have no doubt that if such a referendum had been carried out without British gunboat action in 1953 and the split of the PPP in 1955, there would have been, unlike Jamaica later, an overwhelming vote in favour of federation.
- The West Indian leadership praised the conservative British government for removing with military force the PPP government in October 1953. When Burnham and I were going to London, the Trinidad and Barbados governments refused to allow us to pass through intransit. This soured the relations between the PPP and the West Indian leaders.
- The British government persuaded Burnham to takeover or split the PPP. The latter took place in 1955 mainly, but not wholly, on racial lines among the PPP followers.
- Arch-conservative and viciously anticommunist Lionel Luckhoo, a member of the puppet Interim Government, was persuaded to form the National Labour Front. This pro-imperialist front organization was aiming at our support – it was to operate to an anti-federation in the countryside.
- In 1958, the Caribbean leaders jettisoned the Montego Bay dominion status stand on Federation, and accepted a crown colony status.
- In such a regional and local environment, it would have been politically/tactically unwise if not suicidal for the PPP to enter the Federation.
- This did not mean that the PPP was against regional integration. Or, as some put it, that it had turned its back on West Indian unity for a “continental destiny” after I had led a PPP government Goodwill Mission to Venezuela in 1958. Actually, the Venezuelans had got rid of the Perez Jimenez 10-year dictatorship, and both the Venezuelan government and the Brazilian government under Janio Quadros were playing progressive roles, especially towards the Cuban revolution. The PPP Government maintained Caribbean links with the Oils and Fats Agreement, the Rice Agreement, and the informal Heads of Government Meetings.
- The Federation would have collapsed, with or without the PPP. Apart from its colonial constitutional structure, there were inherent differences and disunity.
Some wanted a strong central Government; others wanted to retain full powers in the various units.
I recall Wills Isaacs, Minister of Trade and Industry, threatening at a Heads of Government Meeting to walk out if Jamaica was not allowed to give a 15-year tax holiday to a foreign oil refinery. Jamaica was in disagreement with a common incentives policy.
The Federal Economic Planner told me that the Federal Ministers would not read, much less discuss, his Report. He wanted overall planning and territorial specialisation, especially to help the 10 less developed territories which together had only about 10 per cent of the income of the region.
Even under Caricom, this kind of overall planning and development is not forthcoming. Dr. Eric Williams expressed his disgust that one of his regional schemes, the Trinidad/Jamaica/Guyana bauxite/aluminium project, did not materialise.
Political unity of the Caribbean including Guyana is a must. But we have a long way to go. And Jamaica is not the only stumbling block. It has to do with traditional leadership, which in theory agrees with political/ideological pluralism, but does not practice it. It praised the British government in destroying the PPP government in 1953, remained silent when the CIA destabilised the PPP Government a decade later, and joined with the Reagan administration to smother the Grenadian experiment two decades later.
A political federation will materialise and survive and lead to social progress when a new breed of leaders set their sights on a truly independent course. Maybe, in the same way that the upheavals starting in the late 1930s ushered in a limited independence and regional integration movement, so too the upheavals of the late 1980s and the 1990s will bring about a united political and free Caribbean.
Govt Hires PR Firm, But…
Minister Cannot Say What It Does Or How Much It Costs
THE Guyana Government, in an effort to combat what it calls “untruths” and ‘evil propaganda’ about Guyana abroad has recruited the services of a North American public relations firm, according to Yvonne Harewood-Benn, Senior Minister, Information and the Public Service.
‘This is no secret,” Ms. Harewood-Benn said in Parliament last week, but it was the first official announcement by Government of an overseas public relations firm in its employ. “We had to counter untruths and evil propaganda about Guyana abroad and we had to spend money in this area,” she said adding, “we have to employ this firm.”
Prime Minister Hamilton Green also said 1986 was “a very trying year and we had to keep people abroad informed.”
Confirmation of the Government use of a foreign PR agency came when the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) questioned additional expenses of over half-a-million dollars sought by the Information Ministry for “the procurement of services overseas.”
The Information Minister said she was not in a position to provide details on the work of the firm for the government but promised to keep Parliament posted on its operations from this year. She could also not say how much, on average, was paid to the PR agency and could not give details on the sums spent in various areas in the exercise.
Both the PPP’s Dr. Cheddi Jagan and the WPA’s Eusi Kwayana suggested the State-owned Guyana News Agency (GNA) could have provided the services rendered to the government by the North American firm,
Ms. Harewood-Benn said she was not in a position to provide the opposition with details on the amount of money spent on the GNA and she did not know the size of the Government subvention to the agency. She however declared that GNA “has its functions which it continues to perform…its function is necessary.”
Jagan suggested it was a waste of time spending foreign exchange on hiring the overseas PR firm but said even this move would “not solve the government’s problems.” He contended Government would be hard put to counter “bad propaganda” abroad with the thousands who he said continue to “flee the country.”