Guyana Aviation Press Release, 27 Nov 2014 – A Guyanese pilot/businessman is currently being held in a Puerto Rican jail after he failed to disclose a large sum of cash which was hidden in several parts of the private jet he was onboard.
Khamraj Lall was the co-pilot onboard the jetliner bearing tail number N822QL when it stopped in the American annex of Puerto Rico to refuel.
United States Customs and Border Protection agents were conducting routine checks onboard the aircraft when they discovered large sums of the US currency totaling over $600,000. The airport agents had asked Lall and two other occupants to declare the money they were carrying. Lall was at the time traveling with his father and the pilot of the craft.
The pilot declared US$60 while together, the co-pilot and his father produced US$12,000. The hidden cash was found under a row of seats near to the plane’s exit and a suitcase with garbage bags of money was also found near the engine.
After the first sum of money was found under the seats, he told the authorities that it was proceeds from his business and he had forgotten that he had it there.
The authorities nonetheless continued their search, and found the remainder of cash near the engine. The pilot was then reported as taking full responsibility for the cash. He stated that his father and the pilot had nothing to do with the hidden money. The flight was said to be heading for Georgetown, Guyana.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ramesh Ghir told Guyana Aviation that the local aviation authorities are “shocked” by the recent developments. Ghir confirmed that Lall is a Guyanese businessman who has a private hangar at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
He said the pilot was given permission some time back to construct the hangar where he is to conduct medical evacuations and other private flights out of Guyana. Lall is said to own two private jets.
However, after news of Lall’s detention surfaced, more information surfaced that the pilot was given special privileges at CJIA where he was allowed to forgo necessary customs and immigration among other security checks. Ghir and Minister of Transport, Robeson Benn both dismissed the claims declaring that all persons using the airport facilities have to go through the mandatory security procedures.
The facility is however located some distance away from CJIA’s arrival and departure building. The private hangar is very secluded. One has to turn right off the main road, to the southern end on the CJIA tarmac onto ‘Khali Road.’ This then takes you to the only building in that location of the airport.
There is a private security hut ahead of the hangar’s main building. No airport security is visible in this location.
Airport staffers told Guyana Aviation that because of the location, one can access the facility without authorities or anyone else ever knowing. This they say can be dangerous in terms of security, “while you may never know what kind of business is going on at the back there.”
It was stated also that Head of State Donald Ramotar would have traveled a few times on state business with the private jet. The bigger question asked was whether the flight was paid for with state funds or not. Benn opined that the flights could not have been free.
When asked, Ghir hinted to Guyana Aviation that it would not have been possible for the jet to smuggle money into or out of the country since it would have gone through the relevant security checks. The hangar is expected however to provide arrival and departure areas, executive lounges and spaces for customs and immigration agents among other facilities. The high-end clients will not have to go through the airport’s main arrival and departure facilities.
Currently, the private hangar is incomplete, Benn said. Much of the furnishings and internal work is to be concluded.
Lall who is said to have several other business ventures in Guyana, is expected to attend a bail hearing in Puerto Rico next week.
Grants for farmers
#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – Good Morning to my colleagues in government, I recognize……..and most importantly good morning to the farmers. It is my pleasure today to have you here at this award ceremony. For the very first time in Turks and Caicos, farmers are getting relief for hurricane damage.
This shows that the government is committed to ensuring that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to a constant and nutritious supply of food, reduce the food import bill and retain money in the local economy. Food Security is the foundation of all human needs. Given the threat to the global supply chain and growing inaccessibility to enough nutritious food, the Government is committed to supporting the farmers to produce local food, to supplement the food requirement of the country. My government’s priority is to provide an enabling environment, to facilitate local investment within the Agriculture Sector as outlined in the People’s Plan for Empowerment
In February last year (2022) my government launched the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro-Grant Incentive). This Finance Support Program for farmers is the first program of this kind in the Turks and Caicos Islands and shows Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in local food production through providing financial support. My government has allocated US$250,000.00 in this first year to promote agriculture development. This Finance Program has 3 areas of support
- Improvement Programmes – to upgrade farms, Existing registered farmers who wish to perform farm upgrades can receive a maximum of $20,000
- New Farm Start Up/Young Entrepreneurs– For new or younger farmers between the ages of 18-25 years can receive a maximum of $15,000
- Disaster Relief – this is specifically in response to National Natural Disasters “Acts of Nature” inclusive of earthquake, hurricane and storms and other approved natural disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD
To date 12 farmers have received grants in the first 2 categories. Today we are here to give disaster relief to those registered farmers who would have suffered from losses due to the passage of hurricane Fiona in September last year.
Government knows that Farming is an expensive business, farmers livelihood depends on the investment they make on their farms. We live in a small island state that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricane. These disasters can have devastating effects on farms, destroying years of productive work and effort farmers would have put in.
Government in recognizing the important contribution farmers make to Food security and the vulnerabilities they face has moved into action to provide much needed support towards the rebuilding of the farms. Today 15 registered will be receiving funds for disaster relief to assist with their rebuilding efforts. This monies I know will be used for the purposes granted.
I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues and Premier for supporting the continued efforts to grow the Agriculture Sector.
My department of Agriculture recognizes farming is dynamic and as such has lobbied Cabinet for continued support. I am pleased to say that in August last year through a Cabinet Paper, government had approved amending the Agriculture Policy to provide full exemption of import duties for farm vehicles registered farmers can now apply through the department for this support. At that meeting we also agreed for the Department of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive Agro-Incentive Program to support farming in the TCI.
Once again I would like to commend the farmers who are benefiting today for their hard work and dedication and look forward to serving you as your minister
U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”
#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership. To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million. The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.
The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian. Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services. The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security. These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.
In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”
Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets. The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.
RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022. We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years. Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”
In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime. On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”
Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau
Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic
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