[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Government has embarked on an airport modernisation project for which new equipment have been purchased and 34 staff of the Ogle International Airport (OIA) and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) are being trained.
Zulficar Mohamed, Head of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said the training programme is based on Airport Threat (Terrorism) Mitigation and is being conducted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The participants who are being trained in airport security were drawn from all the agencies that operate at the airport that deal with security; the airport security team, Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU), Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the Police and the security companies attached to the airport, along with participants from Ogle International Airport.
He said that the greatest benefit of the training exercise is that it’s done in Guyana and thus it’s cheaper to train over 30 persons as opposed to taking them overseas.
“There is a new representative for TSA in the Caribbean and South American Region and while talking to him, he said to me that he has a new training programme to offer and he can get it done in Guyana if I can have the necessary arrangements done in three weeks,” Mohammed said while adding that the airport conducts some training locally as well.
Bryan Hunt, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy said the US Government’s goal is to work together with Caribbean nations to combat transnational crime and to assist them to develop strong security institutions. He said the partnership between Guyana and the US has begun to make significant progress.
Hunt explained that the three-day workshop will provide Guyanese security agencies with international best practices and methodologies for identifying insider risks at airports. It will assist them in evaluating risk communication options and will help them develop a course body implementation plan.
“Participants will leave the course with a better understanding of the ways in which those with privileged access can pose unique security risks and will become more knowledgeable of ways to lower the risks,” Hunt said.
Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn said Guyanese have to be able to train themselves against security risks.
“We have to be ready and prepared in a proactive way to deal with the issue. The impact of terrorism has had a significant effect in particular instances and we were reminded of the 9/11 attack where the world and its economy went into a global shock.”
Minster Benn said Guyana has not yet met the minimum security standards for airports and urged that the security engagement profile be significantly raised at the CJIA and OIA. He said the Government is cognisant of the security loop holes at the airports, and is working vigorously to change the situation.