(March 17, 2017)
The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, today received two state-of-the-art portable Explosive Trace Detection (ETDs) Machines from the United States Transportation Security Administration (US-TSA).
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Hon. Annette Ferguson, held a brief ceremony at the Ministry to receive the items from Mr. Terry Steers-Gonzalez, Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy. Also present at the ceremony were Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Lawrence London, Chairman of the GCAA’s Board; Mr. Abraham Dorris, Manager of the Aviation Security Dept. of the GCAA; and Mr. Alvin Majeed, Airport Security Manager of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation (CJIAC).
The TSA is the body largely responsible for safeguarding the USA’s air transport sector from terrorism and, during the simple ceremony, Minister Ferguson expressed her gratitude for the donation. “On behalf of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and by extension the Government of Guyana, we thank you very much for this gesture received by the Government of the United States of America,” Minister Ferguson said.
She further highlighted the challenges faced by Guyana in the area of aviation security and emphasized that the machines will be used for their intended purpose. She also noted the significant cost of the equipment and lauded the US Government for its continued investment into the improvement of aviation security.
Similarly, Mr. Dorris thanked the US-TSA and indicated that security will be significant improved. “We’re glad to indeed have this opportunity and we thank you,” he said.
The items received are currently valued at USD$90,000 or GD$18.9 Million and the donation was made possible under the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed between the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, on behalf of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, and the US-TSA on November 16, 2015. The MoA allows for Guyana to access technical support and other expertise to assist the GCAA in developing and improving security related standards, procedures, policies, and modernizing its oversight infrastructure.
Several personnel from the GCAA CJIA will be trained on the use of the equipment which can detect a wide range of substances involved in the creation of explosive materials and devices. Prior to the training, the equipment will be handed over by the GCAA to CJIA, to be placed into operation shortly as the GCAA and CJIA work collaboratively to improve and maintain the airport security system.
Mr. Gonzalez of the US Embassy thanked the Government of Guyana, the GCAA, and CJIA for the cooperation and collaboration shared “across the board and on this specific project”.
“It truly is a pleasure to collaborate in this way and to provide these sensitive pieces of equipment and training.” He further deemed the equipment as “state-of-the-art” and he that he looked forward to seeing them in use on his next visit to the airports.
“We’re thrilled that our experts were able to come here and share their expertise,” he added. He concluded by sharing his Government’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with Guyana through capacity building and improved security.
The receipt of the two ETD machines from the US-TSA comes at a time when the GCAA has committed to developing its aviation security policies and regulations to better regulate the aviation sector after Guyana underwent a security audit by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), conducted under the Universal Security Audit Programme, Continuing Monitoring Approach framework during June-July of last year.
The CJIA is also taking bold strides to improve and modernize the airport security infrastructure with plans to procure new security equipment to satisfy ICAO’s requirements and to match international best practice which will essentially improve the effectiveness in passenger and baggage screening and the screening of outgoing cargo and mail passing through the CJIA. The CJIA will also continue to recruit and train new security personnel while improving the standard of performance of the security system. These developments are concomitant to the airport expansion project which has a defined timeline of completion by year-end.
The ceremony marks the continued partnership between the Government of Guyana and the United States, both of whom are committed to ensuring that aviation security measures and surveillance activities are continuously improved. These efforts are in order to ensure the safety of the travelling public by largely safeguarding all civil aviation operation which includes airline operations, airport operations, and air cargo operations from acts of unlawful interferences, other forms of terrorism, and any criminal activities that may pose a threat to the civil aviation sector.