MINISTER of State for Aviation Hope Strachan urged industry leaders to be on the lookout for vulnerabilities in the country’s security systems as she opened a five-day aviation security training course at Super Clubs Breezes.
The US Embassy sponsored the TSA instructors conducting the training, while funding from the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organisation of American States and the US Department of Homeland Security made the course possible.
Mrs Strachan highlighted the importance of such collaborations to the national security of the Bahamas.
“Representatives in the aviation security field from both the department of Civil Aviation and Bahamasair are here today to attend a five-day course, which will offer them an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to deter, detect and prevent prohibited items, such as, explosives, guns and improvised explosive devices from being introduced into the restricted areas of our airports or on board any of our aircraft,” she said.
“In recent years, the Bahamas has put in place a number of enhanced measures to strengthen aviation security – both in Nassau and on the Family Islands.
“However, despite the efforts made, the security challenges faced by the aviation industry are constantly evolving.
“Those of you here who stand at the forefront of the line of defence must remain vigilant.
“There is no room for complacency, and you must continue to work together as aviation security professionals to.”
During the course, which began on January 21, attendants will be instructed in security awareness and check point operations, including the functions of a walk-through metal detector, x-ray machine, explosive trace detector, and hand-held metal detector.
A session on special screening situations will aim to enhance understanding of how to deal with passengers who are classified as persons with disabilities.
Ms Strachan: “To those security officers from Family Island airports at which screening equipment, such as x-ray machines and walk-through metal detectors, are not readily available, you will be instructed in an alternative method, which will not deviate from accepted International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and National Aviation Security Standards.
“As tourism is vital to our country’s economy, it is not difficult to imagine that the enhanced security measures you will be responsible for implementing may be perceived as an inconvenience by some users at the airport.
“Therefore, one of the most challenging tasks will be for you to make sure that security is not achieved at the expense of efficiency and customer service.
“I hope, therefore, that all of you will take this opportunity to prepare yourselves to be exposed to a form of training that will prepare you to become security instructors par excellence; to ensure that the training is continuously passed on to security officers at your respective airports, and to those employed at the national airline.”