`Disruptive' passenger cannot be kept on board
- Gouveia
Guyana Chronicle
March 15, 2002

Related Links: Articles on evicted passenger from BWIA
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LOCAL aviation operator, Captain Gerry Gouveia, who has certificates from the U.S. National Defence University and from the George Washington University in aviation security and management, yesterday said that if a passenger is "disruptive", an airline cannot run the risk of keeping him on board, even if he calms down.

"When an airline deems a passenger disruptive, he cannot fly - period", he told the Chronicle.

He said that if a passenger becomes disruptive, he poses a threat to the safety and security of the aircraft and the flight, and the internationally recognised recourse at that point in time is to remove the passenger from the aircraft. "Afterwards you deal with the issue of the passenger," Gouveia noted.

"Passengers boarding any aircraft must be prepared to subject themselves to the commands of the crew. That is paramount to the safety of that aircraft.

"A passenger that becomes disruptive in any way or form runs the risk of being evicted. The fact that a person becomes disruptive on the ground and then goes quiet does not mean that the person will not get disruptive again," he argued.

"Any insurrection by a passenger is a direct threat to the safety and security of an aircraft and aviation security will have zero tolerance", Gouveia added.

"Somebody asked the question of why the Captain didn't come out of the cockpit and assess the situation. People don't understand that the Captain must never leave his cockpit.

"In fact, right now we are putting metal doors to ensure that nobody can get into the cockpit", he pointed out.

He said that in the context of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., everything is possible, and that refusal to obey lawful commands is not being tolerated.

Referring to the Colin Gaul incident, he said, "He was given lawful commands by the crew to come off the aircraft. He was given lawful commands by the BWIA security to come off the aircraft. He refused all of those.

"The next choice was to call the Barbados Police Force. The Barbados police now tell him to come off the aircraft and he refused. What they had to do was bodily remove him from the aircraft," Gouveia said.

Asked about the extent of force that has to be used, he said, "the use of force to remove a passenger must be relevant to the force that is necessary."

"I am not defending the Barbados Police Force - what I'm saying is that the man disobeyed lawful commands that were given to him", he said. (NEIL MARKS)