Airport maintains heightened security
December 8, 2006
THE Cheddi Jagan International Airport at Timehri is maintaining the heightened security activated a week ago after a chemical terror threat against certain airlines flying between Guyana and the United States, sources said yesterday.
The Guyana Chronicle understands that after a review yesterday, the Threat Assessment Team at the airport decided to main the tighter security alert but agreed to some changes on what passengers can take on aircraft.
1. No liquids, gels, powder and/or aerosols are permitted EXCEPT one clear transparent re-sealable 1 quart (1 liter) size plastic bag which may contain liquids, gels, powder and/or aerosols in containers of 3 oz. (90ml) capacity or less per container. The contents of the plastic bag must fit comfortably and the plastic bag must be completely closed/sealed and subjected to x-ray inspection separate from the passenger’s carry-on bag.
2. Passengers may have the items listed below, but must declare them to airport security at the screening checkpoint if they are not contained in a clear transparent re-sealable 1 quart (1 liter) size plastic bag and/or are over 3 oz. (90ml):
a. Baby formula/milk (to include breast milk) and baby food in containers if a baby or small child is travelling
b. Medications (liquid, gels, powder and/or aerosol)
c. Liquids (to include juice) or gels for diabetic or other medical needs
All other liquids, powder, gels, and/or aerosols may be transported in checked baggage.
The Guyana Chronicle was told that the airport authority will continue the stringent access control measures along with additional security checks of baggage/hand pieces.
On Sunday night, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation announced it has activated its contingency plan in response to the threat against civil aviation, following the receipt of the anonymous email Friday.
On Tuesday, President Bharrat Jagdeo indicated that the email threatening a chemical terror attack on airlines flying from here to the United States is quickly turning out to be nothing but ‘a hoax’, based on investigations so far by the FBI and local law enforcement officers.
Mr. Jagdeo told reporters the FBI agents deployed to probe the terror threat briefed him that day on the current status of the investigations.
While indications are that the threat may be a hoax, he remained vehement in his condemnation of the act, saying whoever is found culpable will face the full brunt of the law under the Terrorism Act.
“I met the FBI (Tuesday) and they gave me a briefing on the issues and so far it seems as though there was a hoax, based on the initial investigations. But we intend to go the full course in finding that person,” President Jagdeo said.
Referring to the Terrorism Act that is in place, he said the person found culpable of sending the threat will be charged under the act since the email was “designed to cause public panic”.
“We are going to be hunting down that person; we need to send a very strong signal so that this does not happen again,” the President stressed.
He noted that the Police have so far questioned several persons and they have traced the location where the email emanated from and even zeroed in on the specific computer used to send the email.
He also advised the general public not to get into “excesses” on the computer or the internet, warning “there are means to trace emails (and) anything you do online could be traced back to you.”
Guyana Police and United States FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) agents Monday morning swooped on the Netsurf.com internet café on Asylum Street, New Amsterdam, Berbice and seized the CPUs for four computers.
This newspaper has learnt that the terror threat email was sent at 17:03 h last week Thursday to the U.S. embassy, airlines operating the U.S. routes, and newspapers here.
It was sent from terminal number three of the seven terminals in the internet café and a man who used that terminal was among those held and questioned Monday.
Acting Police Commissioner Edward Wills told the Guyana Chronicle Tuesday the man was released and the search continues for the sender of the email.
He confirmed investigators still had a CPU seized from the internet café and local investigators and the FBI agents were pursuing several leads in tracking down the person who sent the threat.
The email said that starting last Friday, some American Airlines, North American Airlines and BWIA flights transporting American citizens from the U.S. to Britain, the Caribbean and African destinations and returning flights will be under serious chemical attack from an “independent militant group.”
The email was sent by M. Atayuv from email@example.com.
This triggered a heightened security alert at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the intensive probe by local Police, the FBI and U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which led them Monday morning to the internet café in New Amsterdam.
The internet café, which was closed Monday, has resumed business.