[Guyana] Roraima Airways turns 21

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[Guyana] Roraima Airways turns 21

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http://www.stabroeknews.com/2013/busine ... -turns-21/

[Guyana] Roraima Airways turns 21
– aircraft fleet, Duke Lodge for expansion next year
NOVEMBER 15, 2013

The growth and development of Roraima Airways has been a function of the focus and commitment of a man who concedes that he was not “born a businessman” and that he has “never really become preoccupied with measuring profits.”

Captain Gerry Gouveia says he feels “privileged”, to have been able to use the private sector to pay what he regards as his “dues” to his country. “Guyana made me what I am and Roraima Airways has been my way of paying Guyana back,” he says.

On the evening of this interview, Gouveia was in a subdued mood, a function, he said of a sudden and violent attack of influenza. He appeared more reflective, more thoughtful about the accomplishments of his US$10 million multi-service enterprise.

Asked what he considers his most important accomplishments as a businessman he says among them is the fact that he has built a company that is directly responsible for paying the salaries of around 150 people. “It’s an awesome feeling to know that the decisions that a company makes are intricately bound up with the welfare of 150 people; and many more if you take account of families,” he says.

What’s also important, he thinks, is the nature of some of the company’s responsibilities: like flying dead-of-night rescue missions in the dangerous interior regions of Guyana, “saving lives”, as he puts it. “It really isn’t possible to put a price on those missions. It’s like a kind of national service and you are happy to do it because you know you are really giving.”

Roraima has grown into a closely knit, genuinely integrated enterprise offering 12 different kinds of services, all intricately bound up with people’s personal welfare. To the company’s fleet of aircraft that offers services ranging from flying visitors to the country’s most attractive locations to ferrying important mail to regional destinations has been added hotels, restaurants, airport ground-handling operations. Roraima also has a share in the running of Ogle Airport Inc, a facility which, only recently, began to handle international commercial flights in and out of the country’s multi-million dollar second airport at Ogle, East Coast Demerara.

The sense of satisfaction from being a part of Roraima Airways derives from what he describes as a “sense of mission”. He declares, “it is not what we do or how we do what we do. There are other companies that do just what we do. For me it is about why we do what we do. There is a sense of mission in the way we approach what we do. My staff understand the mission of Roraima Airways. They know that it is about making a mark.”

What lies ahead, he says, is the consolidation and eventual expansion of what has been built. Roraima Airways has targeted the expansion of its Kingston, Duke Lodge premises and the acquisition of two new aircraft as its primary projects in 2014.

Gouveia hints at “another likely investment in the aviation sector soon” but says he is not quite ready to talk about that.

He admits to being “a bit of an oddity,” a patriot and a private sector man. Roraima, he says, is as much Guyana’s as it is his. “Roraima will never stop” and everything that is does is done for the good of Guyana. “The truth is that I am much more of a patriot than a materialist. There are things to do as a businessman apart from accumulating money. There are things like being passionate about the development of the country and doing everything that you can to consolidate that development.”
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