All clear for detained Venezuelan aircraft, passengers

The passengers and crew of the Venezuelan aircraft which was detained at the CJIA Airport, Timehri earlier this month have all been released and cleared of any wrongdoing but the plane was still here up to last Friday.

“It does appear that the people are not persons involved in anything,” Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan told Stabroek News on the sidelines of Parliament on Friday. 

“I don’t know if it was a charter. The clarification that we got is that it was owned by some company in Venezuela and it is legitimate,” he added.

On Monday July 10th, a five-member delegation of four Venezuelan businessmen and  Guyanese pilot, Michael Brassington, landed at the CJIA on the chartered aircraft along with the pilot and co-pilot.

According to sources, Brassington brought the men to discuss investments in the oil and gas sector here and had scheduled meetings before arriving.

The following day the pilots were arrested by police and the passengers later the same day turned themselves in to law enforcement authorities.

A police statement had said that the pilots and passengers were invited to Guyana by Brassington, who was at the airport to receive them.

Additionally, the “Handling Permission Form” had listed Roraima Airways Inc. as the handling agent for the aircraft.

Following the police statement, Captain Gerry Gouveia, Chief Executive Officer of Roraima Airways, in a statement posted on his Facebook page confirmed that his company was contracted to provide ground handling services to the aircraft, but maintained that all operational procedures were followed. “All required Documents were submitted to the GCAA for their Approval before the departure for Guyana; GCAA Approval was issued before the arrival of the Aircraft; the aircraft arrived and all passengers were processed by the immigration and customs,” he wrote.

While the police had said that the registration number on the aircraft might have been a false one as another aircraft was reportedly carrying the same number, the documents presented for the aircraft were verified and proven to be authentic by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) with assistance from the Venezuelan Civil Aviation Authority.

Ramjattan echoed this and said that from preliminary investigations the plane and documentation were proven legitimate and all of the men released.

“It would appear and what I would have learnt from a preliminary investigation and legal advice is that it is cleared. The investigations have learned that indeed it is a genuine plane and genuine documentation thus far.

For all it might have been suspicious and so on and we will have to deal with that. We understand that there wasn’t two registrations, actually that was an early suspicion. I understand the men were all released,” he said.

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