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Mr. Yoemil Pinero (second from left) of Secure Solutions Inc. demonstrates the new security equipment at the GAIA. Looking on is Minister of International Business and international Transport, George Hutson, Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank, Anneke Jessen and Chief Operation Officer of the GAIA, Joseph Johnson.??

The Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) has stepped up its security with the acquisition of a high-tech scanning system worth some US $65,125.

The IONSCAN 500 DT Simultaneous Explosives and Narcotics Trace Detector System will allow Airport Security to simultaneously scan for traces of explosives as well as narcotics. This machine, which is currently used internationally, is a step up from the IONSCAN 400 B, which was previously used, and only allowed for single mode scanning.

The security equipment was procured through a joint Government and Inter-American Development Bank Strengthening of Airport Security Project, which also provided specialist training for some 250 airport workers in myriad areas related to airport security. Three Senior Airport Security Officers have also been trained in the use of the new equipment, to a level which enables them to train others.

In addressing a handing over and demonstration session at the GAIA, Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, stressed that while Barbados had experienced "a very low number of security incidents to date", we could not afford to be complacent, particularly given our economic dependency on tourism and international business.

??"The acquisition of this IONSCAN 500 DT Simultaneous Explosives and Narcotics Trace Detector System is a demonstration of the commitment of the Government of Barbados to the international fight against aviation terrorism and a great boost to GAIA Inc’s efforts to enhance and strengthen airport security," the Minister stated.

In speaking to the acquisition, Chief Operating Officer of the GAIA, Joseph Johnson maintained:?? "Even though we are confident with the systems that we have, we will always seek to improve because those persons who are our enemies will always also try to improve what they are doing to make it harder for detection."

Making it clear the GAIA would continue to seek to be "on the cutting edge and

always in the fore-front of security," Mr. Johnson did not rule out the possibility of moving towards body scanning, as was done internationally, if warranted.

"We have protocols in place with respect to the various levels of threats, when it becomes necessary, and we know that all is well with the legislation ??- once we?? need to be, we will be on the cutting edge. ????So if that means bringing that piece of equipment into Barbados we will be on the cutting edge- that’s what I will say at this particular time," he revealed.

In terms of adverse passenger response to beefed up security measures at the Airport, Mr. Johnson maintained that there were no problems to date.

??" We have protocols in place. We have the Airport Security Programme, we have the National Civil Aviation?? Security Programme; all of these determine what the Airport will do with respect to the protection of passengers.

"People that are travelling want to know that they feel safe and secure … And even though no one likes to know that they are patted down, that they have to go through all of the security checks… the thing is persons feel far more confident that these measures are being taken for their security and for their protection," he concluded.????cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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