GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The Guyana government, on Tuesday, criticised American Airlines for continuing to “pay scant regard” to its requests after two CARICOM prime ministers, Trinidad and Tobago’s Keith Rowley and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ralph Gonsalves, became the latest high-level officials to fall victim to the airline’s policy.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the airline refused to allow Rowley and Gonsalves, who were attending the 2023 International Energy Conference and Expo, to check-in through the VIP Lounge at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
Noting that it was not taking any blame for the undignified treatment of the visiting Caribbean leaders, the ministry said that based on previous similar experience with American Airlines, the carrier had been asked formally to accord the necessary treatment to the two leaders to no avail.
“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.
The Foreign Ministry said the Guyana government intends 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”.
The ministry said it “sincerely regrets the inconvenience” caused to the two visiting prime ministers, who were travelling to Miami, en route to the Bahamas for the 44th CARICOM summit that got underway in Nassau Tuesday evening.
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,” the ministry said.