Browne, Gopee-Scoon not worried about lack of CAL flights to Suriname

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne. – File photo/Jeff Mayers

RELATIONS between TT and Suriname remain strong. There is no reason to suggest otherwise while state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) awaits permission from Surinamese authorities to resume flights to the South American country this year.

This was the assurance from Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne and Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon on Wednesday.

On Monday, CAL said it is awaiting word from authorities in Suriname to resume flights there.

The airline made the statement after Suriname Transport Minister Albert Jubithana made comments about CAL in an online news report earlier in the day,

In that report, Jubithana said, “As long as CAL does not fix its issues with its passengers and the travel agencies, it will not receive permission from me to resume operation. Suriname is a country where rules apply and order prevails.”

The report claimed that late last year, CAL began announcing the resumption of flights to several of its destinations but has so far not yet responded to Jubithana’s allegation.

The report also said since since Suriname reopened its airspace and regular flights resumed last year, several international airlines have resumed their operations, but CAL has not yet received permission to do so.

Jubithana listed Copa Airlines as one of the international air carriers that resumed flights to Suriname. He said CAL is asking to resume flights between the Zanderij and Piarco International airports on January 18.

In its statement, the state-owned airline said, “Caribbean Airlines has filed all of the necessary paperwork with the authorities and is awaiting feedback.”

Browne said, “This week I held specific discussion on these matters with both my Surinamese counterpart Minister Albert Ramdin and the Corporate Sole of CAL, (Finance) Minister Colm Imbert.”

He added, “TT continues to maintain excellent relations with Suriname, and the issues at hand are being addressed in a mutually respectful manner. “

Browne recalled that he invited Ramdin to Port of Spain last November.

“During that visit there was some intial dialogue on potential expansion of air service linkages between our two nations.”

The overall solution, Browne continued, “will entail continued diplomacy and negotiation, and both sides are committed to such an approach as friendly Caricom neighbours.”

He said his ministry will continue to bring the relevant agencies together in the best interest of the people of TT and the wider region.

In terms of TT-Suriname trade relations, Gopee-Scoon said CAL not flying to Suriname at this time is not causing any problems. “We continue to have an very good working relationship with Suriname, trade-wise.”