By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Smuggling of illicit drugs onboard airlines leaving Guyana is posing serious challenges for the growth and development of the aviation industry, according to Chairman of the Roraima Group of companies, CaptainGerald Gouveia.
During the radio program ‘Hard Talk’ on 90.1 FM today (July, 13) Gouveia stated, “As you close loopholes, people are being very innovative”.
This persists in the face of quarterly audits by the TSA at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) of several of its systems and internal security mechanisms by the airport authorities.
Gouveia boasted of the airport’s security system which allows airlines to fly directly to the United States, something that Guyana’s neighbour Suriname is unable to do.
“Suriname Airways has to stop in Guyana, every passenger, every bag that comes out of that plane got to be re-screened through our security system,” Gouveia said.
He believes that this speaks volume of the local security systems in place.
He explained that airlines are made to feel the pressure when drug busts are made since the repercussions can be far reaching
“Every time they find a person with drugs in the States and they come and audit the system and they find that our systems were deficient then they fine the airline and then the airline turns around and fines the ground handler or the security company that it is dealing with it.”
The veteran Pilot again stressed that Guyana has never been fined for security breaches.
However, he believes the challenge stands with ‘intelligence’ and not the airport security systems. This has not deterred the authorities from continuing to improve its systems to prevent smuggling.
Veteran Media practitioner, Enrico Woolford called for the re-examining of systems that have been deemed ‘good’ since Caribbean countries such as Barbados and Trinidad are not struggling with this problem.
However, Gouveia rejected this notion and believes it is unfair to compare Guyana with Trinidad and Barbados.
“The countries that are connected to the continent are the countries that face the challenge, Suriname is the same thing, and it has a tremendous challenge into Holland, same problem like us.”
Only recently, Canadian based Guyanese 50 year-old Esarbai Gokul, and her 19 year-old Canadian born son Anand Goku were remanded to prison after they were busted at the CJIA with 5.221 Kilogrammes of cocaine in their possession.
They were outgoing passengers on a Caribbean airlines flight BW 606 destined to Toronto, Canada. An American citizen, Jermaine Carter was also caught with cocaine in Kerrigold milk powder packets. It is alleged that on July 4 at the Timehri airport he had had in his possession 7.057 Kilogrammes of cocaine on a Dynamic Airways Flight to Piarco International Airport, Trinidad.
During procedural checks, his suitcases were sniffed by dogs, which detected the presence of narcotics.
A British citizen Twenty – nine – year old Orin Boodhi was caught with 7.170 kilogrammes of cocaine at the airport in his possession.
Gordon Plass and a pregnant Belinda Williams were also charged with trafficking of cocaine after in excess of 2 grammes of cocaine was found in pieces of ornaments reportedly belonging to the two.