Negative media reports crashed EZjet – Benn

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Negative media reports crashed EZjet – Benn

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Jan 05, 2013

Negative media reports crashed EZjet – Benn
January 4, 2013

The reporting in certain sections of the media, particularly the Kaieteur News, have contributed to the demise of failed low-cost carrier EZjet, according to Transport Minister Robeson Benn.

Benn made the disclosure at a press conference, on Friday, where he stated that the media reports came at a time when the airline had few flights and was seeing a decrease in passengers.

“I still believe that the attacks on EZjet coming at the time they did in the press were perhaps unwarranted, still perhaps unwarranted and unfortunate in the terms of timings, because they occurred at the low-point season where cash flow for all the airlines operating in Guyana were affected and also because people stopped travelling,” he said.

“…that resulted in immediate demands from service providers and that’s what killed the operations. I am still saying that cash flow killed the operations,” he said.

He said that the government through the Public Works and Transport Ministry and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) did “all the requisite” with respect to the licensing of EZjet’s operations.

He further explained that these reviews and assessments were no less than those for Redjet or any other operation including Caribbean Airlines who applied for new routes too.

“These reviews were no less than the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) review and licensing for EZjet and also the Toronto Transportation Board and they have significantly much more resources that we have,” he said.

He added that the issue of having low-cost competitive air traffic in Guyana, particularly for the diaspora and business interest, is a major one.

“I am not defending it one way or the other, with respect to having these people travelling cheap; whether there is a flow of funds from other places was not an immediate issue and we could not have been aware of it with respect to the licensing of the airline,” he said.
Benefits to Guyana

“A boss could do something illegal and punishable, but the company continues and my interest is that the operations continue – that’s my interest, because it was a benefit to Guyana and I want that to be highlighted,” he added.

EZjet’s demise came after its former chief executive officer and owner, Sonny Ramdeo was accused of stealing more than US$5 million from a hospital chain in the U.S.

Promise Healthcare and 11 of its hospitals sued Ramdeo, of PayServ Tax, in Palm Beach County Court, accusing him of stealing the money “through a sophisticated scheme of fraud and deception”.

It claimed it hired Ramdeo eight years ago to manage payroll for its 3500 employees in its hospitals nationwide.

“Specifically, Ramdeo incorporated a company called PayServ Tax Inc and deceived Promise’s senior management into believing that PayServ was a legitimate payroll tax processing company affiliated with the nationally-known payroll processing company, Ceridian (a global payroll services company that Promise had used for years).

Based on this lie, he deceived Promise into transferring millions of dollars to PayServ Tax Inc and diverted over five million dollars (U.S.) of Promise’s money to himself and his companies,” the complaint states. “Significantly, in the past two months alone, Ramdeo stole US$5,387,000 from Promise by diverting its funds to EZjet.

He did this by diverting money in the PayServ account that had been deposited for payment of Promise’s payroll taxes….”

The United States Department of Transportation suspended EZjet’s U.S. licence on the request of Swift Air, its charter company; its licences to operate in Guyana and Canada were later cancelled by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and Toronto Transportation Board respectively. EZjet officially wrapped up operations in Guyana after acting CEO Rosalinda Rasul denounced Ramdeo as a man of lies and deception. He is currently in FBI custody.

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