Black Immigrant Daily News
St Vincent Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves
The Guyanese government on Wednesday criticised American Airlines for what it considered as “scant regard” and meted out to the prime ministers of Trinidad and Tobago and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
According to a media report, Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested that TT’s Dr Keith Rowley and St Vincent’s Dr Ralph Gonsalves be allowed to check-in through the VIP Lounge at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
The ministry said the two men were the latest high-level officials to fall victim to the airline’s policy. Both men had attended the 2023 International Energy Conference and Expo and were en route to Miami for the 44th Caricom summit in Nassau, Bahamas when the supposed snub happened.
Dr Keith Rowley, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago. – Photo by Marvin Hamilton
A release by Guyana’s Foreign Ministry stated: “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 its government will formally communicate its displeasure which it said caused “embarrassment not only nationally, but also to our regional friends.”
The Foreign Ministry said its government had previously protested the airline’s position against its own high and senior government officials without success and has “continued to pay scant regard to the Government’s requests for entitlements to the positions held to be respected.”
Newsday contacted Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne on the issue. Browne acknowledged the request for information and promised to respond, however, as at 7 pm he did not.