Hundreds of Canadians stranded in Guyana


 

Lilian Chatterjee Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana

More than 500 Canadians are now believed to be stranded in Guyana following the shutdown  on March 18 last of the country’s two major interntional airports – the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the Eugene F. Correia International Airport.

About 300 of the stranded Canadians were reported to have been awaiting the arrival of a Caribbean Airways aircraft last Friday to fly them to Toronto.

But the plane did not make the trip to Guyana to pick up the passengers.

The Caribbean Camera also learned that many Canadians in Guyana were having difficult reaching officials at the Canadian High Commission in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city.

Among them was a retired couple – Ramnarine and Mina Deonarain of Markham, Ontario – who had been holidaying in  Guyana since last January.

“We were originally scheduled to  return to Canada on March  27 but we have been trying for the last  two weeks to get an  earlier  flight because of the  virus situation. So we are now stranded,” Mina  Deonarain told  The Caribbean Camera in a telephone interview from Georgetown.

“Many of us couldn’t reach anyone on the phone at the offices of the High Commission and so we were unable to register as Canadians in  Guyana,” another stranded Canadian said in a telephone interview

Ramnarine (Johnny) and Mina Deonarain

Meanwhile, the Guyana government is reported to have granted access to American  Airlines and Eastern  Airlines to land at Cheddi Jagan  International airport to pick up American citizens seeking to return to the United States.

And Caribbean Airlines is only permitted to operate flights leaving Guyana for New York between March 20 through March 31. The airline has also received permission to assist Cubans in returning to their home country.

The Caribbean Camera has written to Canada’s Foreign Affairs minister, Francois-Phillipe Champaigne, informing him about the plight of the stranded Canadians in Guyana.

But up to press time,there has been no response from the minister.