US registered carrier, Dynamic Airways, has instructed its agents and travel agents in Guyana to use an exchange rate of G$250 to $US1 for passengers wanting to buy its tickets.
The rates being used by other airlines are much lower. News Source made checks at a number of local travel agents and other airlines and was provided with the requested rates.
Caribbean Airlines’ exchange rate stands at $208 to US$1, Fly Jamaica is charging an exchange rate of $208.44 to US$1, Travelspan/Eastern Airlines’ exchange rate stands at $220 to US$1 and the exchange rate being used by Copa Airlines stands at $209 to US$1.
Travel agents were left surprised and concerned by the move by Dynamic Airways to demand an exchange rate of $250 to US$1 on its ticket.
The move today came just two days after Dynamic raised its rate of exchange from $215 to US$1 to $220 to US$1.
One travel agent manager, who asked for their name not to be made known, told News Source that “it is the strangest request ever received, especially since the other airlines are much lower. I am not sure what to make of it”.
Dynamic Airways operates daily services between Guyana and New York.
Local representative for the airline, Captain Gerry Gouveia of Roraima Airways, when contacted today, said the airline cannot source sufficient U.S dollars in Guyana and therefore it is requesting that passengers either buy their tickets in US dollars or pay the $250 to $1 rate.
“I called the Bank of Guyana today. And they told me they only publish the rates but they do not sell money. The cambios said they do not have money”, Gouveia told News Source. He did not offer the names of the Cambios that he claims told his company that they do not have US currency.
When questioned as to why Dynamic’s rate is so much higher than all the other airlines plying the same route and offering the same service, Mr Gouveia said “they probably have a way to get U.S Dollars”.
Checks at a number of commercial banks found no shortage of foreign currency, although the rate of exchange has been varying for various types of transactions. None of the banks are charging an exchange rate anywhere close to $250 to US$1.
Just on Wednesday, the Guyana Manufacturers Association called on the government to examine the exchange rate in the country, raising concern that the Guyana dollar is being devalued and the exchange rate has already reached $230 to US$1. That rate is being charged for specific credit and debit card purchases at some banks.
The Minister of Finance,Winston Jordan, when questioned last week by News Source about whether there might be a deliberate attempt to starve the economy of foreign currency, admitted that it might be a possible move by some businesses that are opposed to the Government’s and the financial regulations that it has been putting in place.