American Airlines apologizes for ‘snubbing’ prime ministers at Guyana airport

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American Airlines has sent an official apology to the prime ministers of Trinidad and Tobago and St Vincent and the Grenadines over an incident at Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (GEO). 

Dr. Keith Rowly, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, were both departing Guyana on February 15, 2023, after attending the 2023 International Energy Conference.

The prime ministers were on their way to The Bahamas, via Miami to attend the 44th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Nassau.

Despite a request from the Government of Guyana for the prime ministers to have an expedited check-in process from the VIP lounge, Rowly and Gonsalves were required to present themselves at the airline’s check-in counters for a visual identification, like any regular passenger.

American Airlines sent an official letter of apology to the two prime ministers on February 20, 2023.

“On behalf of American Airlines, please accept my sincerest apology for not proactively approving the request for expedited treatment and the inconvenience caused during your departure from Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). We sincerely regret that we fell short of your expectations while traveling from Guyana to Miami to connect on a flight to The Bahamas for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) summit,” part of the letter said, which was published by local media outlets. 

The letter was written by American Airlines managing director Robert A Wirick.

Prime Minister Gonsalves told Antigua News that he did not take any offense to the procedure. 

“Well I don’t think I’m a God, and I certainly don’t take it as any mark of disrespect to me. We have so many challenges in our countries and in the region and globally, to tell you the truth, that is the least of my concern,” Gonsalves told Antigua News.  

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