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Travelers en route to US now subject to full body search

Published:Monday | December 28, 2009 | 9:25 AM

Travelers en route to the United States are now being subjected to full body searches instead of the usual random checks at the boarding gates at Jamaica’s two international airports.

The changes took effect on Boxing Day.

Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Derby, said the screening procedure at the airports is in line with a directive from the United States’ Transportation Security Administration.

He said all flights going into the United States will for now are affected and there is the possibility that European and other carriers may later be included.

The new rules will also require passengers to undergo body patting by security personnel, and carry-on bags to be screened at the boarding gates.

Colonel Derby said the decision was spurred by an attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack aboard a Northwest Airlines flight.

The attempted attack led to the arrest of a 23-year-old Nigerian-born man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for trying to blow up the aircraft while it was preparing to land in Detroit.

The Permanent Secretary in the National Security Ministry, Major Richard Reece is seeking to assure that the changes are in line with a policy of constant revision of security arrangements at ports of entry and exit.

He said the airports in particular are properly equipped to deal with any eventualities such as persons who may want to attempt to smuggle contraband or banned substances on to any airline.