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Barbados considers air marshalls to boost airport security

Published:Wednesday | October 7, 2009 | 10:06 PM

Travellers flying between Barbados and the United States could do so under the watchful eye and protection of air marshals, as efforts to upgrade security systems at the island\'s Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) continue, according to a report on www.caribbean360.com.



Minister of International Transport, George Hutson, said discussions were currently ongoing with regard to an Air Marshal Agreement with the United States of America (USA), which would permit armed marshals to be deployed on board international flights to and from the United States.



Noting that the use of air marshals was one of the counter-terrorism measures developed by the USA since 9/11, Hutson said the island\'s dependence on tourism could expose it to some threats, especially if terrorists were prevented from striking their targets at home.



\"If security is heavy at home and it is not practicable to strike there, then they will look for weak links in the system and strike...so we need to make sure that in Barbados our security systems are such that any such incidents are restricted,\" he said, adding that this requires constant upgrade and monitoring of security systems and a reduction in external breaches including perimeter fences around the GAIA.



With the number of passengers using GAIA increasing by 8.5 per cent between the end of 2001 and the end of last year, Minister Hutson said that it was Government\'s intention to position GAIA as an aviation hub for the region.



\"Consequently, this reality also means that Government and airport stakeholders must be proactive in putting in place the necessary security measures which will keep the travelling public secure,\" he said.