Min. Patterson exposes SN for publishing Opposition’s baseless claims about Civil Aviation Bill

– “without fact-checking the member or even seeking a comment from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority”

– “the MP was a member of Special Selected Committed that examine the Bill, but that she only attended 4 of the 18 meetings”

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, November 22, 2018

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson has reprimanded Stabroek News (SN) for the publishing of Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira’s inaccurate claims about the Civil Aviation Bill of 2017, which was passed on Monday, November 19, by the House.

According to Minister Patterson, the new Bill seeks to repeal and replace the Civil Aviation Act Chapter 53:01 and bring Guyana’s aviation law into conformity with primary legislation regulating civil aviation currently found in other parts of the world. It also makes provisions for the enablement of the Chicago Convention and the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System.

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson.

However, the SN article quoted Member of Parliament (MP) Teixeira as describing the bill as “having the potential to embarrass Guyana”. The newspaper article listed several of Teixeira’s issues with the Bill, including its’ alleged non-compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and its stiff fines for passengers that board or become intoxicated, while onboard.

In a Facebook response to the SN article and Teixeira claims, Minister Patterson noted the newspaper printed an article, “without fact-checking the MP or even seeking a comment from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.”

The Civil Aviation Bill#1 of 2017 was on Monday night read for the third time. Minister Patterson outlined that following its second reading, the Bill was sent to a Special Select Committee on March 9, 2017, where it was examined clause by clause over a period of 21 months for amendments.

It was pointed out that MP Teixeira was a member of Special Selected Committee that examined the Bill, however, she only attended 4 of the 18 meetings – the last being July 13th, 2017.

Noting the MP’s concern over the fine for intoxicated passengers, the minister posited:

“If the MP had taken the time to attend the Special Select Committee (or read the final report), she would have been aware that during deliberations, this clause was amended… Further, nowhere in the revised Bill are there penalties for passengers being intoxicated. The penalties are imposed for hazardous or dangerous behaviour,” the Minister explained in his Facebook post.

MP Teixeira had made several of these allegations on Monday night during the Bill’s third reading, including the claim that it was not ICAO-complaint. However, during the reading, Minister Patterson, under whose remit the aviation industry falls, had maintained that the claims were all baseless and resulted from a lack of information.

“The claim that the Bill is not ICAO-compliant is not true and, if the member had attended [the Select Committee] meetings she would have learnt and agree with us that the Bill is ICAO compliant,” the minister told the House.

Minister Patterson had told the House that the Civil Aviation Bill 2017 was shared with and reviewed by ICAO and that if the Bill was passed in its current form, Guyana would receive further credit from the international organisation.

 

Image: Department of Public Information.

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