The Excellence in Screening Techniques course focused on enhancing the skills of security screeners as the first line of defense in international aviation. Based on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Security Manual Volume 1V and Annex 17, the course was designed for participants in the Federation to build on their skills and knowledge of screening techniques for passengers and baggage. The course also offered updated procedures to better address the evolving threats to aviation security.
It should be emphasized that one of the primary goals of the partnership between the OAS, the TSA and GOV/SKN is to build a national security structure in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis that will protect citizens and visitors alike and prevent the Federation from being used as the soft underbelly for terrorist actions elsewhere. To achieve this, the OAS contents that a multidimensional approach to security should be the guiding strategy. The implementation of this strategy will require the assembling of a number of critical parts in a complete whole, where each part works in harmony with each other.
From the standpoint of the OAS, having a sound legal framework in place is an important element in spearheading this multidimensional approach. Within this framework, the enactment and up-dating of laws will give effect to enforcing critical security measures, help prevent breaches in security and punish those who dare to breach or attempt to breach security. The OAS firmly believes that when a country promotes and executes security measures that are routed in the law, increased compliance and improved safety are likely to be among the end result.
Another important input in this multidimensional approach towards building a national security structure is ensuring that the written law is supported by the relevant rules and regulations. This is essential to facilitate the implementation of specific security measures and operations. It is the regulations that give teeth to the law and they also allow screeners and other security agents to effectively take actions and follow procedures that keep the public and all important installations and facilities in the country safe. It is the regulations that also help to close any gaps that may exist in a security system.
In addition, the OAS believes that a sound national security structure should be buttressed by the use of updated equipment and technology. The right equipment and suitable technology, when strategically deployed and maintained, can bring about improvement in the efficiency and management of the security system, increase productivity and strengthen the effectiveness of established practices and procedures.
Furthermore, the OAS is convinced that having in place trained personnel to manage, operate and supervise security infrastructure is the most important ingredient in any security pyramid. The human touch, the human involvement, call it the human factor – is an invaluable input in building a national security structure. It is the human factor that makes it possible to develop and execute a security strategy that emphasizes prevention, detection and elimination of attempted breaches. Hence the best skills, the most talented, persons who are knowledgeable and those having the requisite expertise in security matters should be deployed at critical facilities and installations.
The OAS asserts that building and maintaining a national security structure requires fostering a culture of security within and among the wider population. The organization is cognizant of the fact that in the Federation and in the wider Caribbean region as well, people tend to go about their lives in a carefree, happy go lucky way. It is an approach that found comfort and accommodation in the world of the 20th century. However, in the world of the 21st century, the scourge of international terrorism has emerged – a scourge that readily exploits security gaps of any kind, has no respect for and does not value the sanctity of human life, and a scourge that delights in creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear in the wider population.
Therefore, the OAS is likely to support the position that a laissez faire approach to our way of life is not congruent with the nature of the current threat. The threat real; it is serious; it is determined; and it has shown a worrying degree of resilience as well. Accordingly, we must be more serious, more determined and more resilient when it comes to matters of security in order to be many steps ahead of those who conspire to do us harm.
Finally, the OAS is convinced that cooperation among member countries in the Hemisphere is a very important input in a multidimensional approach to building a national security structure. The sharing of security intelligence, collaboration on joint security operations and harmonization of security legislation and applicable regulations are among the essential steps that will make St. Kitts and Nevis, the region, the Hemisphere and the world more secure.