[St. Lucia] CID Probes Bomb Scare at GFL Airport

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[St. Lucia] CID Probes Bomb Scare at GFL Airport

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Feb 24, 2019

https://thevoiceslu.com/2019/02/cid-pro ... l-airport/

[St. Lucia] CID Probes Bomb Scare at GFL Airport
Micah George
February 23, 20190

Located just about a mile from the shopping centre of the City of Castries, The George F. L. Charles Airport is the smaller of two airports in Saint Lucia. It is not usually the brunt of bomb threats like banks for instance, however, when the call came in about 5:50a.m. Wednesday morning that a bomb was on the premises, officials quickly issued evacuation orders and directed personnel to the assembly point, a spot high up on the beach, towards the cemetery.

The fire department was called in and the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) immediately activated its protocol for emergencies such as this one, but like all bomb scares in the country over the years, nothing was found and at exactly nine o’clock the airport gates were reopened and business resumed as normal.

On Wednesday morning airport gates shut out passengers and workers as investigators responding to a bomb threat searched the facility.

Of course, just like in the past, the matter was not taken seriously by Saint Lucians who had to evacuate the facility, a fact made evident when our news crew visited the site about two hours after the call came in about a bomb on the premises.

Passengers appeared more concerned about not making their connecting flights outside Saint Lucia than the threat of a bomb and its consequences.

A smiling Tara Nickells who arrived in Saint Lucia on Saturday and was to fly out at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday aboard LIAT to Barbados for her connecting flight to England, told reporters that according to a local man the bomb scare was maybe about an employee wanting to stay at home for the day rather than coming to work. She also said that what she got from the locals was that such a threat was not serious.

Benefiting from the bomb scare however were the boys from the nearby St. Mary’s College who were given the day off as a result of classes being cancelled. They gathered at the nearby Choc Cemetery in large numbers quite excited about the unfolding scenario, some ducking our cameras others posing for photographs.

Access to the college by students and teachers was restricted by the authorities investigating the bomb threat hence the gathering of students and teachers at the cemetery where their dismissal was coordinated by teachers, meaning parents collected their boys from that point.

Meanwhile airport director Lambert Remy said his team activated the airport’s emergency protocol immediately after the call was received.

“That was done, the police came in and they carried out their search. At about 8:30 a.m., they advised us that the supervisors could go into the building and we were able to open the facility at nine Wednesday morning,” he said.

According to Remy, SLASPA will be putting out a comprehensive statement on the situation at a later date. Further, the emergency protocol that was launched after the threat was received was to his satisfaction.

“We have been practising and we were able to do so in accordance with our established protocols,” he said.

It is unclear how much, financial or otherwise, the airport and airlines may have lost as a result of the delay, however SLASPA issued a statement Wednesday afternoon stating that “in keeping with the airport’s emergency plan and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety requirements, the Airports Division of SLASPA evacuated the facility. Operations were suspended to ensure safety of the travelling public, aviation staff and other facility users. Following thorough investigations, an all-clear was given, reassuming operations by 9:00 a.m.”

Remy is quoted in the statement as saying, “We are satisfied with the level of responsiveness from the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, the Fire Service and all emergency personnel” and that the matter had been handed over to the Crime Investigations Department.

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