GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- Guyanese passengers who purchased tickets in Guyana to use the REDjet Airline passenger service will have to wait a bit longer to receive their refunds as the verification process of the list of names sent from Guyana is still ongoing.
Principal assistant secretary in the Ministry of Public Works Derrick Jodhan explained that after the collapse of the REDjet airline in March, 2012, the Ministry of Public Works here decided to take up the case for Guyanese passengers who had purchased tickets, so they could be refunded their air fare. Subsequently, newspaper advertisements were placed for persons to print out their confirmation forms and take them in to the Ministry. The advertisements ran until June and a list of names was compiled.
“We had roughly 850 requests approximately, but each request would have carried a number of persons… so we are looking at over 2,500 persons that purchased tickets and are seeking refunds, which amount to US$175,500,” Jodhan said.
He further explained that the bond signed between government and the airline was US$200,000.
“That is the bond the ministry wanted to levy on,” he added.
The list of names complied by the Ministry was sent to REDjet for approval and confirmation of its validity. REDjet’s response was to return two lists, one approved and one not approved. The list that has been approved amounts to 70% of the list originally sent by the Public Works Ministry.
“The problem is that we are still waiting for the unapproved list,” Jodhan said.
“We want to know the reasons for not approving those passengers. If there are genuine reasons, we would have to let the passengers know something. Why their money has not been approved… We were thinking of starting to pay those people who have been approved, but we have to be very careful with the legality of the bond… my understanding with the bank, because we are in constant dialogue with REDjet and the bank, is that it’s a one shot stop… the minute we sign on … I think it’s over.”
Jodhan emphasised the need for an agreement with REDjet reiterating that the list “has to be approved by both parties before we can levy, and the bank will accept that. So we are waiting on that list, because we don’t want anybody to be disenfranchised.”
He pointed out also that there is yet a third list, a list which was complied of persons who had begun to apply for refunds before the Ministry stepped in. This list was sent to the company before the Ministry’s list was sent and now requires double checking for duplication, where persons who had applied before directly to the airline, and then applied through the Ministry also. That list was expected to be verified by the Ministry on Monday.
“We want to ensure that no Guyanese passenger has been disenfranchised, and that nobody gets paid twice. We need to verify and to be careful about the one shot payment,” Jodhan stated, “so the verification process is what’s taking the time. I know passengers are very much frustrated out there. I am sorry that we have to take so long. But it is beyond the Ministry, it’s more a REDjet issue at this time.”
Incorporated in Barbados, REDjet took to the air with a regularly scheduled service between Barbados and Guyana in May 2011, and a service to St Lucia was introduced in February 2012, with flights to St Maarten scheduled to begin in May. In March the company was hit with financial problems, and officially ceased business in June.