by Denis Chabrol
The Guyana government on Wednesday publicly protested American Airlines’ shabby treatment of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Keith Rowley and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves as they prepared to depart Guyana earlier in the day.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry accused American Airlines of refusing to allow the Prime Ministers’ check-in through the VIP Lounge at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). The Guyana took no blame for the undignified treatment of the visiting Caribbean leaders, saying that based on previous similar experience with that airline, the carrier was this time around formally asked to accord treatment to Drs Rowley and Gonsalves but that, too, did not work. “All Government protocols were in place to facilitate their departure. Despite American Airlines having been written to, prior to the arrival of the Prime Ministers in Guyana, for them to be accorded the courtesies of check-in on departure from the VIP Lounge, the airline refused to acquiesce to the Ministry’s request and insisted that the Prime Ministers leave the
Lounge to present themselves to the check-in counter,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Demerara Waves Online News was told that the American Airlines insisted that Drs Rowley and Gonsalves prove that they are Prime Ministers.
The Foreign Ministry said the Guyana government intended to formally communicate its displeasure of this most recent action by the airline that has caused “embarrassment not only nationally, but also to our regional friends. ”
Saying that the Foreign Ministry “sincerely regrets the inconvenience” caused to the two Prime Ministers who were leaving for Miami with a connecting flight to The Bahamas for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) summit.
The Foreign Ministry said the Guyana government had previously protested this position taken by American Airlines against its own High and senior government officials, but without success. “They have continued to pay scant regard to the Government’s requests for entitlements to the positions held to be respected.”