[MIAMI] – Guyanese can be assured that using the Miami International Airport (MIA) is safe and efficient for both passengers and for cargo. The assurance was conveyed to Prime Minister Mark Phillips on October 8. Specifically, when his visiting delegation was given a detailed presentation on the operations of the facility by its top management.
The visit to the international airport was organized by the Guyanese American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) which has identified the airport as a key facility for passengers and cargo bound to and from Guyana. And, the figures support that conclusion. Especially with $115,383,166 (US) worth of cargo passing through the facility last year, the pandemic notwithstanding.
The visiting Guyanese delegation included Guyana’s Tourism, Industry and Trade Minister Oneidge Walrond. Plus, Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal, Chief of Aviation Marketing. Jim Nares of MIA shared that Guyana is number 30 on the list of countries with the most cargo utilizing the facility. Especially with 3,384 tons recorded for 2020. MIA is listed as number one in the US for handling perishable cargo.
Import and Exports
The top five imports by weight from Guyana that were processed at MIA last year were fish, and pet/show animals. In addition to minerals, raw grains and cooking oil/fats. While the top exports to Guyana were industrial machinery, telecom equipment, computers and computer accessories, scientific instruments and aviation parts.
In terms of dollar value, the top imports into the US from Guyana were gold jewelry and gems.
Miami International Airport a Major Hub
There was no data available for the number of passengers, passenger traffic to and from Guyana. However, it is not insignificant among the 49.5 million people traveled via MIA in 2019. Traffic was down to 19 million in 2020 due to the pandemic.
In offering the assurance of passenger safety, Nares said, “MIA was one of the first airports in the US to install state-of-the art 3D CT scanners”. There are 53 passenger and 41 cargo airlines operating out of MIA.
“MIA is the largest and best suited gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America. In addition, we are embarked on a $5 billion dollar capital modernization program over the nest 5 to 15 years,” Nunes told his audience. An audience which included Guyana’s Honorary Consul in Florida, Ramzan Roshanali. In addition to executives of the GACC and executive chairman of Demerara Distilleries Limited (DDL) Komal Samaroo.
In welcoming the Prime Minister and other participants, the airport’s Director of Protocol and International Affairs, Desmond Alufohai pointed to the strategic importance of MIA to Guyana. Especially as its economy continues to expand rapidly and the private sectors in both countries heighten their trade relations.
In his opening remarks, President of the GACC Wesley Kirton said that the Chamber requested the briefing for the visiting delegation so that the Guyana government could get an on-the-spot indication of the operations of the airport which is most critical to Guyana’s trade relationship with the US.
Address by Prime Minister Phillips
Prime Minister Phillips in his address to participants pointed to Guyana’s heightened development activities in several sectors including oil and gas and emphasized the importance of efficient and cost-effective logistics. He said the timeliness of the delivery of supplies is key to ensuring projects are completed on schedule and within budget. He also underscored the importance of perishables exported from Guyana being handled in keeping with the requirements so as to avoid spoilage and financial losses to farmers in Guyana.
The Prime Minister said he was pleased to learn of all the mechanisms in place. Such as the joint command systems for emergency response. Plus, the facilities requirement for the proper handling and security of vaccines. Especially as Guyana and the rest of CARICOM seek to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the state of the art scanners which would prevent any terrorist activity utilizing the aviation sector.
He expressed confidence that with such measures in place, Guyanese passengers and the business community in both countries enjoy a satisfying level of comfort in utilizing the airport.
The briefing also heard presentations from Mark Hatfield, Assistant Aviation Director, Public Safety and Security; Capt. Patrick Lewis, Miami-Dade Fire rescue Airport Operations; and Humberto Perez, Miami-Dade Police Department.
The visitors were the honored guests at a reception hosted by MIA in the Consular Lounge at the airport.