By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Minister of Tourism yesterday reassured the Bahamas that "there is no reason for alarm" over enhanced US aviation security demands.
Speaking at a press conference to announce 'Run for Pompey 2017', Dionisio D'Aguilar said: "I don't think we should be overly concerned about the security measures. It's just that these measures are targeted for parts of the world from which most of us will probably never see in our lifetime, like Syria and Iraq and all of those places, or Saudi Arabia and other such destinations. And when they put out this policy it's really targeting travel from that part of the world. But I don't think it should be a great concern.
"If you want to travel to the United States and you want to take an electronic device, if you want to take it with you on the plane, it's just going to have to be swabbed to make sure that there's no explosive devices in those types of electronic devices, because it seems as if the terrorists are developing the technology to do those evil things. We will adjust our security regime at the airports."
As for the Family Island airports, Mr D'Aguilar said there was only one that did not have the necessary security and explosives detection equipment.
"As it relates to Family Islands, there is only one airport that I know of in our system that does not have the device to do the swabbing, and that is Treasure Cay," he added. "And Treasure Cay has one flight a day to the United States on Silver Airways. And I'm lead to believe that if you just check that electronic device, then it should really take care of the issue if you don't want it swabbed.
"But I understand some people don't want to check their laptop for security reasons, so just allow yourself some additional time for it to be swabbed to ensure that there's no residue from explosive devices on that instrument."
The US Department of Homeland Security is requiring enhanced explosives screening and more rigorous security checks at all 280 airports that are the last points of departure for the US. The New York Times reported that airports which fail to implement the explosives-detecting equipment could be cut-off from direct flights to the US.
"We'll adjust, we'll cope. There's no reason for alarm. Just allow a little bit of extra time if you want to do that. And certainly, as we roll these things out, there are kinks in the system. As we work them out and get into our groove I'm sure it will work itself out," said Mr D'Aguilar.