Hinds: All okay at Piarco Airport

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Heavily armed policemen guard the entrance to the Tobago check-in counter as a security precaution as a bomb threat was investigated at the Piarco International Airport on Saturday. – SUREASH CHOLAI

MINISTER of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds told Newsday on Sunday that everything was back to normal at Piarco International Airport after a bomb scare on Saturday which ultimately proved to be unfounded.

Sunday Newsday had reported an Airports Authority statement saying that after an anonymous threat at 3 pm against flight BW1832 to Tobago, the passenger-holding and check-in areas were cleared as a precaution, but no threat was found, resulting in operations resuming by 5.45 pm.

Hinds said an intelligence platform had received information that there might have been a device on an aircraft.

The authorities then focused on one aircraft which was grounded, he related, with bomb technicians and other professionals then conducting a sweep of the aircraft.

“They became satisfied that there was no actual threat. Things, in quick time, went back to normal.

“I understand some passengers were inconvenienced but that was a very small price to pay for events like this which we of this world have seen and experienced.

“I thank the intelligence, police and law enforcement.”

Hinds urged the general public to share information with the police in any incidents like this.

“The key thing for me was the safety and security of potential travellers, aircraft and the airport. Once I was advised that the police were on top of it, that was good enough for me.

“The key thing is that it was brought to a position of normalcy in reasonable time.”

Newsday asked if any miscreant who phoned in a bomb threat should be unearthed and then prosecuted by the police.

Hinds replied, “We do have criminal charges in TT – as many other jurisdictions – for wasting police time and other such offences, public-order offences and terrorist offences under the Anti Terrorism Act. But one can never know, so in all cases the police do their background checks and I don’t know that applies in this particular case.

“But I do know that once it is in the hands of the police – professional and trained as they are – I’m confident the entire thing will be properly managed.”

Hinds was glad the matter had come to a happy end.

“We have seen–- starting from Lockerbie and all that – devastation around the world in matters like this. I’m quite happy that it came to a peaceful and quiet end. That’s good enough for me.”

Police head of corporate communications Joanne Archie told Newsday the police will seek to ascertain the origin of the phone-call, saying the investigation was already under way.

Saying the disruption had inconvenienced airlines, citizens and visitors, she said the TTPS was doing its investigation with the greatest amount of urgency so as to get results in the shortest time.