GCAA Director General’s contract being reviewed – Min Edghill

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GCAA Director General, Lt Colonel (ret’d) Egbert Field

…says agency needs professionals to guide Guyana’s advancement in aviation

The matter of renewing the employment contract of Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Director General Egbert Field, is currently under review. This is according to Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, who debunked reports that Field was being forced out due to politics.

The Minister had cause to issue a statement on the matter, after reports started swirling ranging from Field being forced out, to him actually quitting. Edghill explained that in reality, Field wrote to inform him that his current contract would be expiring on August 2, 2022.

“I make this statement based on several inquiries made concerning the current employment contract of the Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Lt. Col. Egbert Field.”

GCAA Director General, Lt Colonel (ret’d) Egbert Field

“As the Minister of Public Works, I have been informed via a letter from Director General Field of the expiration of his current contract on August 2nd, 2022. Mr Field’s letter is being addressed with the view to the renewal of the contract,” Edghill explained.

He went on to make it clear that the Government of Guyana employs persons solely based on meritocracy, adding that the GCAA in particular, needs professionals who will guide Guyana’s advancement in aviation.

“Allow me to make it abundantly clear that the Government of Guyana’s employment practice is solely based on meritocracy. We do not subscribe to views that are being peddled by some on the social media platforms that Mr Field is being forced out of his job because of politics,” Edghill said in his statement.

“As a government focused on the development of our country and the advancement of our people, we strive to ensure persons capable and competent are always serving in areas and offices to propel change and development.”

A well-placed source has meanwhile confirmed that a meeting is planned for this week, during which Field’s employment is expected to come up. Efforts by this publication to contact Field himself were futile.

Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill

Field, a former pilot in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and aviation official in Jamaica, was appointed to Head the GCAA in 2016. He took over the substantive role left by Zulficar Mohamed, who had retired in May of the previous year.

Over the last few years, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has identified plans to make Guyana into a hub for regional travel as part of its agenda. Last year, Edghill had said that Guyana has made significant progress towards its goal of attracting and having the capacity for increased regional air traffic.

Investments in this regard have included establishing a State Safety Programme/Safety Management System (SSP/SMS), as well as upgrading the Communications Navigations Surveillance/Air Traffic Management System to improve the performance of the Air Navigation System.

Efforts have also been made to enhance Air Traffic Control monitoring capabilities using the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-8) technology at strategic locations throughout the country.

Last year, Field had announced that six new airlines are showing interest in starting operations in this country. Earlier in 2021, reports had indicated that air service providers such as FlyAllWays, InterCaribbean Airways, One Caribbean Limited, JetAir Caribbean, Skybus Airlines, Sky High Aviation Services and Guyana Rotorcraft Services Inc had expressed interest in operating in Guyana. So far, Skybus Airlines, InterCaribbean Airways and FlyAllWays have obtained approval to begin operating.

While attending the Conference on International Air Transport Cooperation in South Korea recently, Minister within the Public Works Ministry Deodat Indar had given statistics on the state of Guyana’s aviation sector and the number of flights returning.

For instance, Guyana’s passenger numbers are on course to increase by 5 per cent this year, compared to pre-pandemic numbers from 2019. This is a turnaround from 2020, when domestic air traffic dropped by 46 per cent.