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Disrespected and despised - Port Security Corps members face abuse from all and sundry

Published:Sunday | March 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Port Security Corps officers check the travel documents of two passengers boarding at the Norman Manley International Airport.
A member of the Port Security Corps interacts with a motorist who has stopped the vehicle on the ghost median at the drop-off zone for airline passengers at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

Mandated to ensure that all the rules are observed at the island's ports, members of the Port Security Corps (PSC), based at the island's international airports, are often faced with abuse when they try to enforce the rules.

"When you say, 'Take off your shoes,' some people say them can't bother. They don't do it overseas, so why are they doing it now. They say we are backward and we go through that every day," one female member of the PSC told The Sunday Gleaner.

"Just like yesterday, a gentleman came through say him was 75 years old and bluntly say him not taking off him shoes because overseas 75-year-olds don't take off them shoes," added the female officer.

She said she had to maintain her professionalism to eventually get the man to take off his shoes and be processed.

"At the end of the day, we get the job done. We learn not to take it too personal," she added as her colleagues noted that the women face the brunt of the disrespect, with most of the abuse coming from persons checking in to board flights.




Another female member of the PSC shared her concerns as she charged that in the instances that they have to confiscate lotions or other personal liquids over a certain volume, in keeping with international aviation regulations, they usually face a hostile response.

"They accuse you of wanting it for personal use, even if you are being nice because they insist that you are too rehearsed. I got hit on the finger by a man, but I just stay calm and it didn't get out of hand," she added.

A male colleague, who works at the drop-off point for passengers, explained that many motorists choose to park in the middle of the roadway, even when there is adequate designated parking space available.

Efforts to get these unruly motorists to comply with the rules usually escalate into a clash of wills.

"We say, 'Sir, just park to the side of the road' and they tell you 'just a minute boss man'," said the PSC member.

He charged that very often, the delinquent motorist continues to chat on the phone, much to the annoyance and inconvenience of other drivers.

"At times, we might have to loud up the tone a bit, not to be disrespectful, but to let them know that we are here, we are the law. When you firm it up a bit, they actually comply and when they drive off say, 'Thank you boss', but they disrespect you," added the PSC member.

The PSC members are divided over whether more or bigger signs leading to their workstations would serve to educate travellers about the dos and don'ts when they are at the airport, but even more worrying is the abuse they sometimes face from other persons who work at the ports.

"I think the other workers at the airport give us a harder time than some of the passengers because they see us as being 'down there'. If they were on location every day and see the effort that we put out, then they would probably understand that we are only doing our jobs and then they would say something else," declared the PSC member.