The agreement, initiating the process to facilitate directs flights between Guyana and Ghana, was signed in the margins of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Air Transport Meeting, which concluded today.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, with responsibility for the aviation sector, Annette Ferguson and Minister of Aviation of Ghana, Joseph Kofi Adda signed the agreements on behalf of their respective governments at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACC).
Minister Ferguson said, “with this agreement, the benefit to be derived is that we should be able to see a shorter travel time between passengers from the Caribbean, particularly Guyana to Africa.”
The government has demonstrated the notion of, “putting words into action” with the ceremony. She said Guyana will be looking forward to the collaboration between South America and Africa.
The agreement was signed after the hosting of the third African Diaspora Meeting, where a recent assessment found that it usually takes more than 38 hours from a Caribbean country to Africa and this initiated discussions.
Ghana’s Minister of Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda explained that the agreement came at an opportune time for the government and the people of Ghana.
“We hope that the true meaning of what we signed today would be that aircraft and airlines will connect Georgetown, Guyana to other cities of the Caribbean and South America. We’re trying to cut down the time and bring all the socio-economic benefit to all the countries involved. And this is what our politicians can do to show there is political work and commitment.”
Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge pointed to the “cost, waste and frustration” of flying from Africa to South American, something he hoped the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union (AU) would work together to resolve and promote trade and investment.
“The establishment of direct air connections between Guyana and Africa will reduce the distance between Guyana and the African as well as Middle Eastern countries. It will enable African citizens to have direct contact with their kith and kin not only in Guyana but across the entire Caribbean region,” he said. Other benefits, he referred to, include fewer stops, cheaper air fares, and strengthening of student and cultural exchanges as well as increased tourism.
Director-General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Retired Lt.Col. Egbert Field said if the Ghana-Guyana air-bridge is developed into a viable route, much of the revenues being spent on hospitality services in North America and Europe, through which most flights transit, would be spent in South America and Africa.
”Money is being made in that part of the world and stifling what should be ours to share with our brothers across in establishing a shorter link so let’s go forth, open up this link, deprive them of any extra money, millions and billions of dollars that they are using and they are taking from us and let us just share it across this five hour or five and a half hours stretch of water,” said the GCAA official.
Just yesterday, the governments of Guyana and Aruba signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will see direct flights from Georgetown to Aruba in the near future. These agreements and MOUs are geared at bolstering Guyana’s aviation sector.
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