Airports not meeting security standards –Benn

Guyana’s international airports, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri and the Ogle International Airport “are not meeting the minimum standards” on security, Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn says.

“It is important that we lift the security profile at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and Ogle Aerodrome,” Benn said at the opening ceremony for the Airport Risk Mitigation workshop yesterday. According to a press release from the ministry, Benn told the 25 plus participants that a dispassionate review of the airports’ (CJIA and Ogle) security status indicates that “we are not meeting the minimum standards.”

Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to smuggle drugs inclusive of cocaine and marijuana to both overseas and interior locations at the two airports.

In May, two airport loaders as well as a police dog handler, accused of concealing cocaine in the vent of the luggage hold of an outgoing Caribbean Airlines flight, were remanded to prison after being charged with narcotics possession for trafficking. The cocaine amounted to 2.2 kilos. There have been many other cases.

“We do not yet accorded with, mitigated to, the threats we are faced with…we need to take a hard look at ourselves,” the minister said,

Participants at the seminar (Ministry of Public Works photo)
Participants at the seminar (Ministry of Public Works photo)

according to the release. The workshop is being held at the CJIA’s Control Tower at Timehri and is a collaboration between the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the United States of America security watchdog – Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The three-day interactive session is an advanced technical assistance programme designed to assist foreign airport stakeholders in conducting a risk assessment to identify areas as it relates to their security posture, the ministry explained.

The release said that Benn pointed out that the September 11, 2001 acts of terrorism have impacted security operations worldwide; hence, airport security officials have to synergize and create linkages to improve their capabilities. “The Government of Guyana is cognizant of these challenges. You have to make the utmost use of such courses because it improves your personal and professional development. We rely on you to make us safe and secure,” he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Bryan Hunt, Charge d’ Affaires at the US Embassy in Georgetown acknowledged that the pressure to propel security process is weighed against the increased threat from persons who want to traffic drugs and/or weapons from one country to another. “It is critically important that nations work together in a coordinated matter to identify and thwart those threats. Security is a global issue. Criminal networks are constantly looking for vulnerabilities to move people and illicit cargo aboard the same planes that supply the goods and resources that grow and develop our economies,” he was quoted as saying.

The diplomat said that the US Government remains committed to aviation security partnerships with Guyana and in the Caribbean as a means of investing in the future and supporting sustainable development of the region.

GCAA Director General, Zulficar Mohamed, said that the Authority has been able strengthen its relationship with TSA, and expressed his appreciation to the facilitators for coming to Guyana in such a short space of time to impart their vast knowledge to the participants. “…we must have the personnel, trained and ready to carry out their duties when necessary,” he said.

Security and Operational staff from CJIA, Ogle, the Guyana Police Force’s Special Constabulary, Customs and Anti-Narcotics Unit ranks and GCAA officers attended the workshop, the release said.

 

 

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue closed to traffic

The northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue has been closed to traffic. This is to facilitate ongoing improvement and lighting works to the thoroughfare.

The newly appointed Deputy Commissioner General Hema Khan (left) with Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas. She was introduced during a press conference held yesterday.

GRA sacks heads of Customs, HR

Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas yesterday announced a major shake-up in the management of the tax body, including the removal of the heads of its Customs and Human Resources divisions for unsatisfactory performance and the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner-General.

European Union Ambassador Jernej Videtič (left) hands over the Coastal Engineering Design Manual for Guyana Sea and River Defences to Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson. (Ministry of Public Infrastructure photo)

$2B in EU funding for sea defences

While urging the swift operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), European Union (EU) Representative to Guyana Ambassador Jernej Videtič yesterday handed over a $2 billion cheque to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to aid in improving the country’s sea and river defences.

Members of the City Constabulary in their ceremonial dress march along Regent Street yesterday prior to the arrival of the President. (Photo by Keno George)

Put citizens first

With the controversial parking meter contract instigating fractures within the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger yesterday reminded city councillors that they are accountable to the citizens who voted them into office.

Injuried: Dhaniram Tribeni

Canal Number One businessman beaten, shot in home invasion

A Canal Number One businessman is now injured after he was beaten and shot early yesterday morning when armed bandits invaded his home and escaped with a quantity cash and jewellery.

default placeholder

City councillor accused of invading Town Clerk’s privacy

A city councillor has been accused of invading the privacy of Town Clerk Royston King and his family after contacting one of King’s daughters about the controversial trip he made to Mexico with the Mayor and other council members.

default placeholder

Chainsaw operator, 16, charged over rape of 10-yr-old

A 16-year-old chainsaw operator was yesterday charged with the rape of a child under the age of 16 years old and later released into the custody of his parents.

Students of Guyana and Suriname who participated in the first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee Competition, held yesterday at NCERD.

Guyana overall w-i-n-n-e-r in first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee

Guyana’s students yesterday emerged the overall winners in the first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee Competition. The Spelling Bee brought together students of Guyana and Suriname, from ages 10 to 14, in a concept of solidarity dubbed “Guianame.” The participants were drawn from several regions in Guyana and from the AlphaMax Academy, which has been the winner of the National Spelling Bee in Suriname for the past three years.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: