Guyana has now entered into an air services agreement with New Zealand, which enables both nations to conduct international air transportation following a mutually crafted framework for operation.The agreement was signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge and newly-accredited High Commissioner of New Zealand to Guyana, Anton Ojala.According to the Ministry, this agreement stems from a “joint desire” to widen the opportunities which are presented in international flights. Added to that are “the related parameters that will enhance competitive air transport services, trade, and economic growth”.Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge and High Commissioner Anton Ojala after signing the Air Services Agreement documentIt was mentioned that the countries have a long history of diplomatic ties, ever since they established relations on September 1, 1974.Last year, Guyana also signed a similar agreement with Ghana, allowing for direct flights and increased connectivity.Meanwhile, airline companies have also been signalling interest in the Guyanese flight markets, while current operators have increased the number of weekly flights to other destinations.Last December, American Airlines commenced operations in Guyana, one of its 19 destinations across South America.At that time, Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Director General Egbert Field took the opportunity to mention that the carrier would advance Guyana’s tourism industry and increase the flight count to the North American continent. For him, bridging those gaps is essential for the country and its economy.Copa Airlines had also announced that it added another flight to its Guyana-Panama route with onward connections effective since December.With approval from the GCAA, Copa operates the additional flight on Fridays, adding to existing flights on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.Word was also circulating that Eastern Airline had applied for a chance to operate in Guyana, adding to the increased fleet which depart and arrive on a daily basis.These developments were made around the same time that Guyana stood as the host of the Air Transport Meeting, for the first time, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.The Air Transport Meeting addressed issues such as harmonising the regional air transport regulatory framework as well as the liberalisation of air cargo through regional and global approaches.
Public Service Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley on Thursday defended the firing of staff members from her department shortly after she would have assumed office, saying that there was evidence at her disposal to warrant dismissal.Public Service Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley“I think that the evidence that was before me suggested that something needed to be done and the investigation would bear whether or not that was rational,” the minister stated at a press conference.She, nevertheless, revealed any bit of evidence that she referred to but noted that the investigation will soon wrap up with the findings.However, following the dismissals, a special Board of Inquiry (BoI) was commissioned by President David Granger to probe the arbitrary firing of the three workers at the Public Service Ministry by Minister Sarabo-Halley.On May 31, 2019, the personnel staff and chief accountant at the Public Service Ministry were sent packing by Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley shortly after she was appointed to that post.When the news broke about the arbitrary firing of personnel staff and the chief accountant, the Government initially denied firing them but one week after, Director General Joseph Harmon confirmed that indeed, the workers were sent home.But he said higher authorities had since intervened and the dismissed staff were eventually sent on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. He had maintained that the staff in question are still employees of the Government as the decision by Minister Sarabo-Halley to terminate their services has been halted.ScholarshipsHowever, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had alluded to the fact that the fired workers were initially targeted and arbitrarily dismissed after they revealed that the children of a Government minister received payments amounting to over $20 million in the last two years.One of those revelations is that the children of Minister Simona Broomes had allegedly received over US$86,000 in 2018, monies that were transferred from the Department of Public Service. Then again, this year, another transfer of millions reportedly took place.Given the controversy around that situation, the Public Service Department has made a decision to publicise all scholarships to ensure “transparency”. It was confirmed that both children of the Minister in question received grants to study overseas, but Sarabo-Halley could not state if the monies were transferred to their personal accounts.“I decided that transparency is key for me and in terms of scholarships, its public money and public funding. There is no need to keep it a secret…In terms of transparency and accountability, I have no issue in releasing the names of persons I would have granted scholarships to,” the Public Service Minister posited.Currently, over 100 scholarships are open for undergraduate studies in the fields of Accounting, Agriculture, Management, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Food Science, Geography, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, Petroleum Engineering, Public Management, Sociology, Supply Chain Management and Youth & Community Development.Postgraduate opportunities are available in Environmental Management – specialisation in climate change and disaster management, and specialisation in natural resources management— Petroleum Engineering, and Social Work.However, to study in another country, persons are required to pledge an asset to ensure their return to Guyana. Upon returning, they are required to serve for a number of years to repay the State.The eligibility to grant these studies are dependent on a number of factors and a panel will deliberate on the relevance of the chosen field. The Department may choose to provide only tuition, if there are insufficient funds from the budgetary allocation.