- NTC Chair says follow up meeting with airline operators expected soon
There are still no concrete decisions made by local airline operators and the government to address the high cost of airfare to the hinterland, one month after Toshaos met with domestic airline operators at the National Toshao Conference (NTC).
Toshaos of hinterland communities, specifically Kamarang Village, highlighted the struggles Amerindians experience when travelling to and from the city.
Lemmel Thomas, Toshao of Kamarang Village, Region Seven 7, made recommendations during a meeting for the government and local airline operators to examine.
However, a month has passed and there has been no follow up meeting with the airline operators and no measures have been implemented.
Chairperson of the NTC, Derick John told MTV News Update that the Council would be meeting early in October. He is hopeful that a follow-up meeting will be conducted very shortly with the local airline operators.
“We are hoping very soon that we will reach back with the Aircraft Owners Association, and we will be able to make some concrete decisions moving forward because we recognise the challenges our indigenous brothers have with airfare and transporting in and out of those communities,” John told MTV News Update.
Toshao Thomas during the meeting in July had told the operators that the price to transport goods to the hinterland has been costly, which resulted in the increase in price for goods, causing strain for residents of Region Seven.
“The only airlines that operate are the private ones and at the moment, to put one pound of an item cost $182, to travel, you pay for your body weight, and so the residents of that end will be looking forward to find out what the NTC has done,” he had posited at the NTC.
Thomas also recommended that a special rate be implemented for transporting goods and patients into hinterland communities.
He also asked the government to look into travel subsidies with the current domestic airline operators as a partner.
If these do not work, he posited, the government should look into transporting goods using the Guyana Defence Force’s Skyvan or build roads so they can be less dependent on air transport.
“Private aircraft owners, we need to understand that we are living in a difference economic environment. I know you have to make profits, but at some point in time, because we are your customers, you need to talk to us, and maybe there is a need for to develop a task force somewhere in Georgetown so that we have good communication,” he added.