By Dana Niland
The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority has secured an agreement with the United States of America Transportation Security Administration to engage in cooperation on civil aviation issues.
The agreement’s terms include the development and modernization of the civil aviation security infrastructure of Guyana in managerial, operational, and technical areas.
Guyana Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson and US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, signed the Memorandum of Understanding this week.
Patterson said Guyana’s government sees aviation as a catalyst for the island’s economic and social growth, and that to this end, the partnership between the two countries is essential for the sector, especially as a means of promoting connectivity between US destinations and Guyana.
Holloway said that the agreement enhances the security capacity for passengers, employees, and other stakeholders involved in the airport transportation industry in Guyana and the US.
In addition to the provision of technical and managerial expertise to assist the GCAA, the agreement also provides for training of GCAA personnel in the US or in Guyana and for the provision of resources, logistical support, and equipment for facilities.
Patterson asked the TSA to include Ogle International Airport in their assessment on their next visit, in addition to Cheddi Jagan International Airport, with which the organization has already begun to work.
“I believe we have to have a holistic approach to the security and safety oversight of our aviation sector,” Patterson said.
He added that he has advocated for technical assistance from the USA-TSA since meeting with the US Charge d’Affaires Bryan Hunt in June, after the TSA expressed concerns with the pace at which the GCAA was handling aviation security matters.
According to Holloway, only after the TSA conducts its next assessment of airport security in January 2016 will it be able to determine what further financial support is needed.
Holloway also spoke to the commitment of the US to continuing to work with Guyana’s government as a “friend and partner” on issues of civil aviation security as well as other critical areas.