Problem with security check
Guyana Chronicle
April 5, 2002

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MY girlfriend and I recently visited Guyana for a short holiday and after having a wonderful time with friends and family our trip was spoilt by an incident which took place at the Cheddie Jagan International Airport.

We checked in our luggage and underwent the necessary security checks. At the security point was a male person who did not identify himself (I believe that he is from CANU or narcotics squad). He very arrogantly asked to see our passports and then withheld them from us. We were then told to accompany him to the immigration area of the airport, where we were asked to identify our luggage. At this point we had realised that the man was a security officer. We were then separated and a female security officer carried out a search on my girlfriend’s luggage, while this male officer carried out a search on my luggage.

After searching my suitcase, he did not find any illegal weapon or substances. He then took out two cellular phones from my suitcase and put them aside. Looking at the phones he told me that he thought they were “nice phones” and that he would like to keep them. I explained to the officer that the phones would not be of any use to him as they would not work on Guyana’s cellular network, however, he continued to suggest that he should keep them.

At this point I realised that this officer was delaying the search and that there was a likelihood of me missing my flight. Reflecting on some stories that I had previously heard about Guyana airport security misusing their powers, I decided it would be in my best interest to give into this officer’s demands and to let him have the phones. Losing my onward connection would have been much more expensive than the two phones.

My feeling after this incident is that tourists to Guyana are not treated with the respect and justice that they deserve. I also understand from my conversations with other Guyanese residents that there is little point in making a complaint against this officer, as it would be highly unlikely that any action will be taken against him.
M.A. Jones