A passenger who was scheduled to leave Guyana’s shores on December 11, 2018 after booking his flight five months in advance with Fly Jamaica, has expressed frustration at the airline for “dragging its feet” in relation to refunding passengers their monies.Vikask Ramnarine, who was destined for JFK airport, New York, said that he was only informed of the cancellation of the flight when he made calls to the airline and was told to return eight weeks later for a full refund of his airfare.“On Thursday and Friday my relatives told me to call just to make sure that the flight is on, since all these things going on with that particular airline, so I did and I was told by the staff that everything is ok and I am schedule to fly on the same day.”“On Saturday and Sunday I called back only to be told that the flight has been cancelled, but still no one called to say anything”, Ramnarine related.Ramnarine noted that he decided to visit the company’s Carmichael Street office to express his dissatisfaction, only to be told by the staff that they “don’t have any arrangements in place” and nothing could be done.“I understand that the process to refund customers will take time but I expected this period be at least 3 days since this was not our fault and it’s very unfair that we have to wait 6-8 Weeks for our money to be returned to us. Also taking into consideration the airline held this money since August 2018 and they do not have any service to provide, no instant refund”.According to him the company owes him a total of US$720 which is equivalent to GYD$144,000.Recently, a source close to the Airline had refuted the claims of inconvenienced and frustrated passengers who complain of not being refunded their tickets’ cost.The representative who spoke with Guyana Times said, “All the flights that were cancelled or (passengers who) were affected are having a total refund. If you want to cancel from us because you need to book another carrier, I am not sure how they are gonna go about doing that, but they are free to come into the office and have that clarification done with accounting or they can call the local number and have clearer information as to how we are going about that.”She said that in addition to the local office, Fly Jamaica also has international offices in the United States where queries can be made.Although the sale of tickets has been put on hold, the source related that operations are expected to resume in January.Just recently, a disgruntled passenger expressed his frustration in a letter to this newspaper explaining, “I had purchased a ticket before the incident to travel to Guyana on December 21 and return to Toronto in January 2019. I contacted Fly Jamaica to find out if my flight would be cancelled and if I could get a refund. They claimed that the flight will not be cancelled, and, therefore, I will not be getting a refund.”
By FARAI MUTSAKA Associated PressHARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been hit by a vicious cyclone that has killed nearly 150 people, left hundreds more missing and stranded tens of thousands who are cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas.Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries, according to the U.N. and government officials.March 15, NASA’s Terra satellite provides images of Tropical Cyclone Idai after landfall in Mozambique. Photo Credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)Hardest hit is Mozambique’s central port city of Beira where the airport is closed, electricity is out and many homes have been destroyed. The storm hit Beira late Thursday and moved westward into Zimbabwe and Malawi, affecting thousands more, particularly in eastern areas bordering Mozambique.Homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and police stations have been destroyed by the cyclone. Thousands were marooned by the heavy flooding and, only caring for their lives, abandoned their possessions to seek safety on higher ground.U.N. agencies and the Red Cross are helping with rescue efforts that include delivering food supplies and medicines by helicopter in the impoverished southern African countries.Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi said the damage is “very worrisome” and said that the flooding made it difficult for aircraft to land and carry out rescue operations, according to Mozambique’s state radio.In Zimbabwe, 31 people have died from the floods so far, according to the government. The deaths are mainly in Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani, a mountainous area along the eastern border with Mozambique that is popular with tourists. No tourist deaths were recorded, said government spokesman Nick Mangwana.Roads and bridges were swept away, slowing rescue efforts by the military, government agencies and non-governmental organizations, he said.The dead included two school students who were among dozens of children trapped in a dormitory after rocks fell from a nearby mountain, said Mangwana. Zimbabwe’s military is trying to rescue the 197 students at the school, although unsafe conditions are forcing the soldiers to use ground efforts rather than attempt an air rescue, the government’s ministry of information said later.Zimbabwe state television station, ZBC, reported that 150 people are missing.“We are receiving tragic reports of some people being swept away. We urge patience as rescue is on its way,” Zimbabwe’s information ministry said in a tweet, although power cuts and communications breakdown in affected areas means the warning might reach just a few.In Malawi, people “are now facing a second threat of flash floods” following the cyclone, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Twitter.South Africa’s military has sent in aircraft and 10 medical personnel to help in Mozambique and Malawi, it said in a statement Saturday.