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Sniffer dogs, random security checks at Piarco

Published: 
Saturday, February 10, 2018

T&T Defence Force (TTDF) members are said to be on “high alert” and will be dispatched over the next few days to work alongside the T&T Police Service (TTPS), as security measures are heightened to ensure a safe Carnival 2018 for tourists and citizens.

This heightened approach came on the heels of police announcing they had disrupted an imminent “terrorist” threat to disrupt the Carnival celebrations in Port-of-Spain.

As tens of thousands more tourists are expected to arrive over this weekend, strategic and intensive security measures are being put in place at the Piarco International Airport.

According to airport security sources, all leave has been suspended by the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT) until the curtains of Carnival 2018 come down on Ash Wednesday morning.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian under strict anonymity, an officer said sniffer dogs will be out at full force at the airport.

“We expect bomb detector dogs to be brought in to go through all checked-in travelling bags and cases. Also, sniffer dogs for drugs, for those who will choose to attempt to bring in illegal drugs in this busy period.

“Some officers will also be carrying random and frequent checks of all people traffic in and out of the airport, including those coming to pick-up passengers.”

Contacted for an official comment yesterday, AATT corporate communications manager Zola Joseph said they would not release security procedure to the public.

On what plans the Immigration Division may have to ensure a smooth flow of arriving passengers, Joseph referred the T&T Guardian to the Immigration Division. However, up to press time there was no official response issued by the division.

But an Immigration officer told the T&T Guardian officers are expected to report to duties “as normal.”

“This is the busy peak period for arrivals in T&T and all officers are expected to report for duty, but it is not certain if there would be full attendance because of the grievances expressed by some over the non-payment of overtime salaries and other issues,” the officer said.

National air carrier Caribbean Airlines has announced that some 5,800 arrivals are expected from yesterday to tomorrow.

Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon told the T&T Guardian that in preparation for the increased flow of visitors, the Immigration Department has put contingency measures in place to ensure the smooth flow of returning citizens and visitors.

“As customary during the Carnival period, security measures are increased at all our airports and sea ports ... These measures, together with the island-wide operations, are all geared to ensure a safe and secure Carnival for all,” Dillon said.

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