Air Services Limited (ASL) Guyana, this morning, launched its Cuyuni Mazaruni (Region Seven) scheduled service which will cater to the needs of several communities in the Upper and Middle Mazaruni.
The service, which will be available every Tuesday and Thursday, is expected to provide service to residents of Kamarang, Imbaimadai, Phillipai, Chi Chi East, Chi Chi West, Paruima, Kaikan and Ekereku Bottom, among others. Previously, flights were only available to these villages through a charter, which is very costly.
State Minister, Dawn Hastings- Williams, who hails from Kako Village, Region Seven, in her remarks at the launch, said that she is quite pleased to see the introduction of the scheduled flights since it is oftentimes difficult for residents to travel from their villages to Georgetown and vice versa.
“I wish to congratulate you because you have taken a bold step at this time of the year. I think this is a Christmas gift to our brothers and sisters in the Upper Mazaruni. Having been born in Region Seven and growing up there, I have recognised that one of the biggest challenges we have in getting from the City to the Mazaruni is the mode of transportation. I can say that this demonstrates that you are very serious about your role in bridging the gaps in terms of services between the hinterland and the coastland,” the minister noted.
The Minister of State noted that the Government is committed to ensuring that every citizen of Guyana has access to services and it is, therefore, important for the existing gaps between the coastland and the hinterland to be reduced.
She further stated that the scheduled service will improve the lives of residents, by allowing tourism to take place and farming produce to be transported.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure with responsibility for Aviation, Jaipaul Sharma, in brief remarks, said that the company must indeed be commended for the step it has taken to extend its services to communities that are presently underserved. He noted that the investment speaks not only to the company’s confidence in the economy but also demonstrates a commitment to serving all Guyanese.
Minister Sharma said that with the Government, through the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), announcing Value Added Tax (VAT) free flights to numerous indigenous communities, residents will now be able to access the service for less.
Manager of ASL, Annette Arjoon- Martins, in her remarks, said that the company was started 50 years ago in a little wooden shed. From then to now, she noted, ASL has made great strides and is pleased to now add the region to its roster.
The Manager noted that at present, the company offers helicopter trips to the top of Mount Roraima and tourists have been clamouring to visit other parts of the region as well. She, therefore, anticipates that with the introduction of the new flights, a tourism product, which will be beneficial to the entire region, can be developed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lee Williams, Toshao of Paruima, said that he is most pleased with the service coming on board since it will significantly assist his community as well as others to boost their tourism and farming products.
“We have to charter flights usually and so we are happy and I have to commend Air Services. Paruima is the only Arecuna people in Guyana so it is unique and we are trying to develop our tourism product to bring economic activities in our community. So now this service is here, it can really boost our tourism,” he said.