By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com]– Aviation Professionals, Airport Employees and Security Personnel are currently meeting in Guyana to identify both the country’s vulnerability and ways to tackle collusion and conspiracy among the aforementioned groups of individuals and criminal elements to carry out illegal acts.
The one day event is organized by the Ogle Airport Inc. and draws participants mainly from the Ogle International Airport along with other stakeholders such as Crime Chief, Leslie James and Head of the Customs Anti- Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh.
Opening the event this morning (Monday, November 24) at the Grand Coastal Hotel, East Coast Demerara, Security Consultant at the Ogle Airport Harold Hopkinson wasted no time in pointing out that there will always be depraved Pilots, Agents, CANU, and Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) employees along with other classes of workers at airports that are willing to engage in illegal activities.
He said the topic being addressed under the theme “Collusion, Security & Safety in (Guyana) the modern and challenging aviation environment,” was indeed a sore but pertinent one.
Hopkinson recalled that Guyana was once among the countries listed for illegal migration but said that with training of staff the country was able to stop that criminal phenomenon.
He recognized that there are good enforcement officers who carry out their functions with the highest degree of ethics but said there was still need for improvement.
Meanwhile, Training and Security Supervisor at Caribbean Airlines, Willard McIntyre said the first step in the process to tackling collusion and threat to airport security is to assess the vulnerability even as he rated Guyana’s airport security being among the best in the Region.
He explained that the level of vulnerability signals the probability for these acts to take place. He highlighted that among the major threats to civil aviation was hijacking, sabotage at airports and aircraft, movement of illegal narcotics, inadmissible passengers and bomb threats; drawing the attention of participants to the fact that while crime has no boundaries the law does.
McIntyre shared several scenarios of collusion and conspiracy that left persons in the room stunned; explaining that the motivation for this illegal activity must be understood and ranges from the influence of others at the workplace to a belief that he/she will not get caught along with living beyond one’s personal status, the need to fund a habit and a belief that he/she is not being sufficiently rewarded by employers.
In this regard, he reminded that the proceeds of collusion and conspiracy is always lucrative. Figures show alarmingly that over 90% of illegality committed at airports is done by the staff.
According to McIntyre, among the factors that contribute to employee collusion includes poor working conditions, poor remuneration, limited growth opportunity along with several external factors that may include financial problems and criminal pressure.
Also addressing the gathering was Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee, who noted that the occurrences of collusion was not unique to Guyana and obtains at almost all airports; recognizing Guyana’s roles in the universal challenge.
He said airports are complex institutions; hence there is need for complex individuals and technology to fight criminality. Rohee said too that collusions are both good and bad even as he advised that there is no one solution to the problems that beset airports around the world.