Report criticises Roraima’s response to ‘incompetent employee’

– urges security upgrades at CJIA to curb drug smuggling

Roraima Airways says that it intends to forward to the authorities, the findings of a Commission of Enquiry into the discovery of a quantity of cocaine at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri—in which one of its staff was fingered—“within a week” and that it will be seeking to engage the authorities on recommendations for reducing the vulnerability of the airport to drug traffickers.

On Wednesday, the company convened a media briefing at its Roraima Duke Lodge Hotel in Kingston to make public the outcome of the enquiry chaired by Attorney James Bond. The report calls for security-related changes at the airport to deter the smuggling of drugs on aircraft, including the installation of cameras “throughout the preparation and loading areas” in order to provide “wider coverage” of those areas.

The report, ordered by Roraima Chief Executive Officer Captain Gerry Gouveia attributes no blame to the company in what was believed to be an attempt by one of its aviation security functionaries, Sydney Matthews to cause the illegal drug to be exported. However, it criticises the failure of the company’s supervisors to detect and act upon the behaviour of Matthews, who is currently before the courts in connection with the incident. Matthews, according to the report, was absent from work for four days but upon his return to work, “his absence was not questioned and no red flags were raised.” The report recommends that Roraima supervisors be subjected to intense training in staff profiling.

Roraima Airways General Manager Captain Debbie Gouveia

The report also frowns on what it suggests were human resource lapses on the part of Roraima supervisors at Timehri in addressing infractions of another named aviation security agent, who was reportedly on duty at the time of the September 3 incident. The report comments on the “lackadaisical attitude” and “personality and bearing of the employee” pointing out that Roraima failed to censure the employee for what it says were “several documented incidents of misconduct, negligence and dereliction”.

The convening of the Commission of Enquiry into the September 2011 incident by Roraima Airways comes in the wake of the fingering of ‘exporters’ in a number of incidents in which cocaine was detected concealed in consignments of cargo bound for foreign ports. Another member of the Commission of Enquiry, Head of RK’s Security Service Roshan Khan told the media briefing that Roraima’s launch of the Commission of Enquiry should be commended for convening the commission. Khan told the media briefing that while he could not speak for the Private Sector Commission (PSC) he believed the issue of the image and credibility of the private sector was at stake and that engagement between the airport authorities and the private sector was desirable.

Among the other recommendations made by the Commission of Enquiry was that the employment of the other named Roraima aviation security agent, whom it described as “incompetent in his duties” come under immediate review.

Commission Members: Chairman James Bond and members Roshan Khan and Gerald McKenzie

General Manager of Roraima Airways Captain Debbie Gouveia told the briefing that the company would be forwarding the findings of the Commission of Enquiry to the airport authorities within a week, though the commission acknowledged that there was no telling whether the CJIA authorities would countenance the recommendations.

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