The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is calling on President David Granger and his Government to “consider carefully” the views of the majority of operators at Ogle Airport in the interest of all concerned and to complete the promised audit and review.
Noting that it is conscious of the many competition issues that surround the management and regulation of the Ogle Airport, the PSC said renaming of the airport in favour of a former public official of the same name as that of the Chairman of the Ogle Airport Inc. will “add to the already filled vessel of complaints” regarding anti-competitive behaviour of the Board of Ogle Airport Inc. (one and the same with a company operating at the Airport in direct competition with nine other operators.)
The Private Sector body pointed out that these operators publicly and privately expressed their opposition and dissatisfaction with the re-naming of the airport.
President Granger in his weekly television programme ‘Public Interest’ has slammed aircraft operators for the delay in renaming the Ogle International Airport (OIA), describing the behaviour of those operators as “small minded”.
However, in responding, Executive Director of Roraima Airways Gerry Gouveia lashed back saying he is baffled by the President’s insistence and determination to rename the airport against the wishes of the majority.
A few months ago, the president suggested the idea of renaming the airport as Eugene Correia International Airport but this did not go down well with some of the private aircraft owners who objected to the proposal.
These include Air Services Limited, and Roraima Airways, who were more concerned with mending some of the issues plaguing the airport and to holistically develop Guyana’s aviation sector.
At that time, President of the National Air Transport Association (NATA) Annette Arjoon had stated that despite tremendous contributions to Guyana’s growth over the years, the aviation sector has not seen the development and representation that it needs to propel it forward.
Correia Group of Companies is not a member NATA but according to Vice President Gerry Gouveia, this was due to the fact that the group was “refused” a meeting with Michael Correria regarding the issues affecting operators at the Airport.
However, the Head of State made the proposal on the basis that Eugene Correia would have contributed enormously to Guyana while he was alive. Although dead more than 50 years ago, his career was described as stellar since he was minister of communications responsible for aviation, a pilot, and also the recipient of a national award.
The President noted that after he proposed the name change, he listened to the criticisms and would have met with a few people who objected. “As I said, I continue to be disappointed that they would put personality before nationality… it is my view that is a national interest that the airport is being named after a son of the soil who has done a lot”.
However, the recent comments by the President have prompted a reaction from Executive Director of Roraima Airways Gerry Gouviea, who took to his Facebook page to express views on the issue.
“The President is insulting the intelligence of the Majority of the Aircraft operators. I am baffled by his insistence and determination to rename the airport against the wishes of the majority,” the prominent businessman stated.
He went on to say it is obvious that President Granger is oblivious to the enormous advantages and value of branding in the world of business. He also vented concerns with the words “small mindedness” used by the president during his television programme.