By Carlena Knight
Efforts to strengthen the level security at the country’s ports of entry continue to intensify as several different organisations recently came together to host a workshop geared towards that matter.
Fourteen participants from eight different organisations linked to the maritime sector were involved quite in a four-day training programme facilitated by the US Coast Guard.
The Designated Authority which currently comprises of representatives from the respective security forces and chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the body responsible for facilitating this workshop as it is their role to regulate security at the ISPS certified Port Facilities.
The US Coast Guard International Port Security Program — Port Facility Security Assessments and Port Facility Security Plans ran from August 30 to September 2 and saw these participants learn skills and ways to ensure that sound security measures are implemented to prevent and mitigate any security incident.
Officials held a brief closing ceremony yesterday at the Port Authority’s Administration building to commemorate the event.
Speaking at the forum was Lieutenant Commander Elroy Skerritt who not only congratulated the participants on a job well done but also encouraged them to “build on the newly gained knowledge.”
“Over the past four days, participants have benefitted tremendously from this workshop and ceased the opportunity to grow their network. I am encouraging participants to continue building on the newly gained knowledge and utilise the expertise within this room to be a catalyst of change for improving security at your respective establishments,” Skerritt said.
He also thanked the four US facilitators—Commander Diana Harris, Lieutenant Commander Christopher Schleck, Lieutenant Commander Joe Price Larson and Lieutenant Commander Marquesio Robinson facilitators for their effortless work especially during a pandemic.
Also giving brief remarks at the ceremony was Director of ADOMS, Ambassador Dwight Gardiner.
Ambassador Gardiner shares his delight overseeing the wide array of individuals from both the public and private sector participating in this workshop.
This workshop, he mentioned is quite imperative for the longstanding development of the maritime sector.
“It is not too difficult to imagine the fallout from a security incident at one of our ISPS certified port facilities. Apart from the reputational damage, a major security incident could also have a long lasting social and economic impact. With all of this at stake, Antigua and Barbuda cannot afford to have a major security incident during any ship or port interface. Therefore, it is imperative that all stakeholders do their part in maintain the security integrity of our Port facilities. We are therefore very grateful to the US Coast Guard under the international Port Facility Partnership for this capacity building workshop,” Gardiner said.
He added that the timing for the workshop was most opportune as local officials are in the process of finalising the Port Facility Security Plans for the refurbished port.