High-tech airport scanner to lead fight against traffickers
March 8, 2007
UK High Commissioner to Guyana, Fraser Wheeler [second from left] shakes hands with Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee yesterday after donating an Ion Track Scanner on behalf of his government to the government of Guyana. The machine is photographed h
A machine sensitive enough to detect traces of illegal drugs and explosives within seconds when persons or items are being screened will soon be functioning at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri.
Security at the airport which appears porous and has come under heavy criticism in the past is expected to improve considerably when the Ion Track Scanner is up and running. The machine was donated to government by the United Kingdom to help tighten security measures.
In a brief demonstration yesterday at the airport, a member of the Guyana Police Force Narcotics Branch showed how the machine rapidly indicates whether or not someone would have been in contact with illegal drugs, explosives or firearms with just one swipe of a trap card. The card is then inserted into the machine which quickly analyses the sample.
At the handing over ceremony yesterday, Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee said the machine will contribute significantly to Guyana's efforts in combating illegal drug and firearm trafficking in and out of the country.
"Anyone who would have read the recent US Drug Report would know that Guyana has serious challenges which require a large amount of resources, manpower and technical support among other things but we are facing them with the limited resources we have and this contribution by the UK is part and parcel of government's holistic approach in waging the fight against illegal trafficking," Rohee said.
He said the donation is timely in that it comes on the eve of the Cricket World Cup and will go a far way in stemming the movement of any drugs, explosives or firearms. Rohee noted that the Narcotics Branch of the police force, some of whose members are being trained to use the machine, need to take the training seriously and be dedicated to their job.
The minister said the human factor of an operation is often the most fragile, adding that machines could fail from time to time but when people fail it sends a bad signal internationally.
"The image of the country is at stake always and this should be uppermost in your minds at all times," Rohee told the officers.
According to the minister, the right signal needs to be sent because it is the only way more assistance will come into the country in a sustainable way.
UK High Commissioner to Guyana, Fraser Wheeler in his brief address expressed the hope that the machine will be used sensibly and placed on the frontline of Guyana's fight against illegal drugs, firearms and explosives. He said the machine is the latest technology out there and is very reliable.
Wheeler said that within five seconds of a sample being taken the machine can detect traces of cocaine, marijuana or trace amounts of explosives.
He said training is being provided to the local police ranks on the use of the machine.
The handing over comes a day after a piece of equipment was presented by the Canadian Government to the Guyana Revenue Authority to assist in the battle against drugs. It also comes on the heels of the release of the annual US State Department report which criticized Guyana's drug fight efforts.
The report pointed out that major drug traffickers are untouched and it is believed that a large part of the economy is propped up by drug money.