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Local police, soldiers scanned and searched as CARICOM leaders await Obama at UWI

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2015 | 10:49 AMGary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

As CARICOM leaders gathered this morning at the Regional Centre of the University of the West Indies (UWI) local police and soldiers were scanned and searched as they worked alongside the US team awaiting the arrival of President Barack Obama.

The CARICOM leaders are awaiting the conclusion of a bilateral meeting between President Obama and Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. 

Hoisted in front of the Centre and fluttering in the light wind are more than 16 flags of Jamaica and other CARICOM states along with that of the United States.

The meeting of regional leaders and Obama is scheduled to start in a few hours, but already the regional leaders and members of the media have been placed in secure positions.

Perry Christie, the current chairman of CARICOM will co-host today's meeting along with Simpson Miller. 

Alert but cordial members of the United States Secret Service and security team, using dogs, searched journalists and swept through their equipment this morning.

Metres away, the UWI Mona campus stood unusually serene and quiet, its gate closed at this hour, with only police and soldier manning the entrances.

Things are expected to change later on the campus as Obama is expected to meet with youth leaders at the Assembly Hall of the region’s premier tertiary institution.

A seemingly patient crowd, watched by members of the security forces is along the path on Old Hope Road and its environs, hoping to get a glimpse of the 44th President of the United States in between meetings.

Meanwhile, scores of residents along Mona Road are out waiting to see the convoy of US President Barack Obama.

The 44th president is scheduled to attend a meeting with CARICOM heads at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters.

The majority of residents are standing by the Total gas station opposite the Mona Reservoir.

Uniformed groups are lining both sides of Mona Road stretching from the intersection with Wellington Drive, keeping an eye on proceedings.

Persons have their smartphones and more heavy duty cameras at the ready for any sign of America's first black president. Many are taking shelter in the gas station's outside lounge area as they wait.