Barbados, St. Lucia upgrading port security

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: Barbados and St. Lucia are upgrading security at their ports in separate efforts aimed at protecting their borders.

Although Barbados has not received terrorist threats at Grantley Adams International Airport, Minister of International Transport, George Hutson, says the government does realize that the risk exists. Consequently, it is moving to improve security at the nation’s only airport.

Hutson said the government recently signed a consultancy arrangement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to review and upgrade technical training as well as security systems at the airport. It is expected the exercise will be launched next month.

“The policy of this government is to ensure that the airport remains on the cutting edge of technology in relation to all of its systems and operations. Mechanisms are in place for the continuous review and enhancement of these systems. Strict attention will continue to be paid to the security of our borders, especially the airport as a port of entry,” said Hutson.

Hutson said a pre-boarding screening process currently being implemented is “an early and crucial stage in the defense of the airport facility, its users and aircraft against any threat”.

A total of 92 security officers recently underwent training, conducted by Aviation Security Trainer with G4S United Kingdom, Angela Christie.

Meanwhile, the security systems at St. Lucia’s air and sea ports are also scheduled for improvement, following the completion of Essential Instructor Skills Training and Basic Security Training Courses by 24 security personnel.

The courses, geared towards upgrading aviation security standards between St. Lucia and the United States, were conducted by America’s Transportation Security Administration and followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between that organization and St. Lucia’s Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.

David Michalouis of the TSA said the organization is keen to assist countries like St. Lucia improve aviation security standards, in accordance with international regulations.

“There are a number of flights originating in the United States which fly directly to St. Lucia and vice versa, and I think St. Lucia is growing as a destination for U.S. citizens,” he said. “I think, from all indications, U.S. arrivals in St. Lucia will increase during the coming months so we have an interest in working with them to share best practices and lessons learned, regarding aviation security standards.”

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