Trinidad and Tobago tightens airport security with threat detector machine

20 October 2014 (Last Updated October 20th, 2014 18:30)

The Customs and Excise division in Trinidad and Tobago has acquired a threat detector machine to increase airport security as part of its border security measures.

The Customs and Excise division in Trinidad and Tobago has acquired a threat detector machine to increase airport security as part of its border security measures.

The multi-mode threat detector machine will help airports to detect contraband items that are smuggled into the country, such as narcotics and explosives, by swabbing the surface of a bag or package. It can also be used as a handheld device if operated remotely via Wi-Fi Ethernet.

Speaking at the equipment handover ceremony in Port-of-Spain, finance minister Larry Howai said that this was the government's approach towards ensuring border security, with 50 officials being trained to handle the detectors.

"Gone are the days when customs officers could simply eyeball arriving passengers to determine potential risks."

He added that the security will be further strengthened with the acquisition of sniffer dogs for the airports and training handlers.

"Gone are the days when customs officers could simply eyeball arriving passengers to determine potential risks," Howai said.

"Not only have passengers intent on nefarious deeds become highly adept at sneaking contraband in and out of our country, but the sheer numbers of people leaving and entering Trinidad and Tobago have made such simple profiling impractical."

Howai further said that 32 of these machines were being used worldwide and have helped in detecting narcotics, explosives and contraband.

Acting controller of customs Ammar Samaroo said that the device, which will be installed at the Piarco International Airport, will be transferred to another port in the event of a suspicious transaction at any other port.

The government might purchase up to 12 more detectors in the future.

The government is utilising additional container scanners at the sea ports, with a new scanner donated by China already in operation at the Port-of-Spain. Two more scanners recently purchased from the US will be fully operational by the end of November.