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U.S., Caribbean to Probe Terrorist Threat Aimed at CAL Out of Guyana

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Special to the NNPA from the New York Carib News

Investigators in the U.S., Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago have been asked by Guyana to help find out who made a terrorist threat aimed at a Caribbean Airlines flight out of Guyana to New York.

Guyana’s Minister of Transport, Robeson Benn, told the country’s National Assembly on Monday that Guyana had asked the three countries to probe the circumstances of a telephone threat made to Caribbean Airlines in Barbados by an unknown caller who was simply identified as someone with a Trinidadian accent.

“The person ran off immediately when he was pressed for more information,” Benn said in a statement about the incident which had triggered a warning to Americans and other passengers not to fly on CAL flights from Guyana. Both the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport had issued the warning on Sunday. Guyana imposed a “red alert” on aircraft and passengers who planned to the U.S.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the embassy advises all U.S. citizens in Guyana traveling on Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to the United States from Monday, February 10 through Wednesday, February 12, 2014 to make alternative travel arrangements,” said the embassy in a notice on Facebook and on its website.

The Transport Minister made a statement to parliament about the incident, telling lawmakers there had been a 13 per cent cancellation by passengers leaving Guyana after the threat was made and the alert issued. An early morning flight left Guyana on Monday and a CAL representative had told Demerara Waves, a Guyana news organization that the flight mentioned in the threat had left with all the passengers who had been booked to depart.

“There were no cancellations. We had a very good showing of passengers. The U.S. citizens traveled as well,” a CAL representative had said shortly after the plane’s departure.

But Benn said later that the threat had affected airline travel out of the country as some people cancelled their bookings.

The flight targeted in the threat was BW 484 which subsequently landed safely at New York’s John Kennedy International Airport. Apart from some delays, the light left Guyana without any incident after the authorities had imposed a security “red alert” at the Guyana airport, according to Benn.

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