Ignore the truth, blame the messenger

November 11, 2012 | By | Filed Under Features / Columnists, My Column 


The past week was remarkable in more ways than one. There was the report that the police wanted to question a man named Paul Daby in connection with the Ricardo Rodrigues killing. Immediately I questioned the wisdom, especially since the police had questioned almost everybody associated with Rodrigues.
I had seen this happen before. The police kept going after a special group of people whenever there was some high profile killing. I wondered at this technique and concluded that the police were playing a game of hit and miss, that there was no proper investigation.
When the police issued the wanted bulletin for Daby, a man simply said that the charade continues and that Daby would be out within hours. So said, so done.
That issue had hardly died down when I heard that some very young boys took a car and went on some expedition. The car crashed and two of them died. I then wondered at the level of intelligence of the people who would lend the car to those youngsters before I realized that I would have been in the same bind a few years ago.
I would come home and park the car and head to bed. Somehow, my sons would put their hands on the key and would take the car. I never knew until one night a relative of my then wife asked me whether I had come home with the car. I looked and the car was gone. I checked the room in which my boys slept and they were gone too.
Cell phones had not yet arrived so I had no way of finding them. Not long after I saw one of them walking in and I feared the worst. But even before that, there was another episode. I had travelled to the airport and had parked the car when I noticed that the back fender had a rip.
Idiot that I was, I thought that I had parked the car and that someone who was parked next to me had simply hooked a part of his vehicle to mine and ripped the fender. I never knew that my sons had gone out with the car and had hooked it to some object. I learnt that many years later, nearly two decades later.
Anyhow, there was this son walking home and me fearing the worst. I asked about the car and he told me that it was at the corner. They were coming home and saw the lights on in the house so they simply parked the car.
What they used to do was stop the car before they reached home and push it into the yard. I was none the wiser. Perhaps the same thing happened when these kids took the car and killed themselves.
But worse was to happen that week. There I was heading to grab a bite when I got a call that Minister Robeson Benn was hosting a press conference on EZjet. I thought that I would miss the event because Dr Roger Luncheon had already given me an answer to a question on EZjet. Minister Benn would have none of that, so I went to the press conference. The news was a bombshell. EZjet would not be flying again for some time.
The owner or owners were indebted to the charter service and the people were demanding their money.  That was the first time that I realized that EZjet owed anyone. A few days earlier, in an interview, the acting Chief Executive Officer said to me that the airline owed no one. She had to be in the dark.
But from the outset, Kaieteur News had reservations about the survival of the airline. For one, there was not enough money for the start up; the owner did not appear to have the resources to maintain an airline and finally, the number of people flying on the airline just could not support it.
Immediately, I noticed the hostility from certain quarters, particularly those media houses affiliated or owned by the government. Kaieteur News was touted as the destroyer of projects. I failed to see how a newspaper reporting on matters of national interest, in light of the secrecy that surrounds so many projects, could be deemed the destroyer of projects.
Of course, if the projects are nothing but scams and plots to defraud people then there would be reports in the government media hostile to Kaieteur News. When Kaieteur News reported on the flight cancellations just days ago there was a mad rush by the government media, including Guyana Times, to accuse the newspaper of all manner of ills.
And as an aside, I notice that Guyana Times is trying to make me famous. People tell me that my photograph appears in that newspaper every day alongside my publisher’s.
But back to the EZjet debacle. When the news came that the airline had been grounded by the United States Department of Transportation and the Guyana Civil Aviation Department, I wondered when there would be the accusations that Kaieteur News had torpedoed the airline.
Of course that would be stupidity to the highest. That a newspaper with a daily circulation of about 30,000 could be so powerful boggles the mind.  One contention was that after the Kaieteur News report on the cancellations people began calling in their debt. If these people had to depend on Kaieteur News for information then their business acumen leaves a lot to be desired.
The acting Chief Executive Officer now claims that there was mismanagement of the airline putting paid to the machinations of those hostile to the Kaieteur News administration. As Minister Robeson Benn said, it is indeed disappointing that Guyana simply seems unable to sustain a carrier that offers the people of Guyana fares that are not exploitative.
We have had Arrow Air, Guy America, Guyana Airways, GA2000, Leisure Air, Universal Airways and now EZjet. There might have been some others. All collapsed.
If the truth be told, it takes a lot to keep an airline afloat. BWIA morphed into Caribbean Airlines at great cost to the Trinidad Government. North American Airlines pulled out to be replaced by Delta and these airlines have huge resources. The only thing is that they demand such high fares.
Whenever competition surfaces these airlines lower their fares to compete. Why can’t they keep the fares as low as they have brought them? It must be something about Guyana.

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