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Guyana’s international airports not meeting standards- Transport Minister

Participants at the Airport security training workshop at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (GINA photo)

Transport Minister, Robeson Benn says Guyana’s airports do not meet minimum standards, according to a statement issued by the issued by his ministry.

“We are not meeting the minimum standards.” “We do not yet accorded with, mitigated to, the threats we are faced with…we need to take a hard look at ourselves,” he was quoted as saying at the opening ceremony for the Airport Risk Mitigation workshop this morning, August 26, 2014.

Benn urged the 25 participants to take a dispassionate review of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the Ogle International Airport.

“It is important that we lift the security profile at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and Ogle Aerodrome,” Benn stated.

The Control Tower, Timehri, is the venue for the three day interactive session, which is a collaboration between the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the United States of America security watchdog – Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The workshop 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 Transport Minister further stated 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 noted.

Meanwhile, Bryan Hunt, Charge d’ Affaires 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,” Mr. Hunt said.  

He disclosed 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, revealed 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, Guyana Police Force (GPF) Special Constabulary, Customs and Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) and GCAA attended the workshop.