Airport Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Ghir says the
allegation made by an outgoing passenger that US$2300
was stolen from her at the airport is in the
hands of the Guyana Police Force's Crimi-nal Investigation
Annie Bacchus in a letter to Stabroek News which was
carried in the May 1 edition said she discovered the money
missing after she had cleared all the security checkpoints
and was already on board a Caribbean Airlines flight
destined to Miami.
When contacted by this newspaper yesterday Ghir said once
the airport's management learnt of the incident it met with
both the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and Secure
Innovations and Concepts, whose personnel, the woman said
had searched her, to ascertain what occurred.
However he said the airport's management is not
controlling the investigation.
In her letter Bacchus said on the morning of April 28,
2007, after her shoulder bag was scanned by a CANU officer,
whose name she provided, the officer enquired about the
money she had in her possession which was US$9683.
The woman said she had 44 US$100 bills but after counting
the money the officer told her that only 43 were there.
And at boarding time an officer from the security company
checked her bag placing both hands in it.
"I told her I want to hold my money but she said the
other passengers will see it. I told her that is not a
problem for me since I am not doing anything illegal,"
Bacchus said in the letter.
Bacchus said too that the woman then gave her a camera
from her bag and told her to take it off and continued
delving further into her bag.
She noted that she became disoriented and after her bag
was returned to her the security official left the area
immediately with a jacket.
"I became suspicious of her actions but the airline
was boarding so I checked the money as soon as I got seated
only to discover that an additional 22 US $100 bills were
missing." the letter continued.
The woman said too that she brought this to the attention
of the flight attendant who took her back to the terminal to
investigate the matter.
According to Bacchus the supervisor of the security
company asked the officer where she went and the officer
said she went to the washroom, but from her observation the
officer was no longer wearing the jacket and her money was
"I had an option to report the matter to the Timehri
Police Station or board the flight and I went for the
latter," she said.
The other side
Stabroek News made contact with the superiors of both
persons against whom the allegations were made. CANU has
reserved comment on the matter. Acting CANU head Orvil Nedd
told this newspaper that the incident is currently being
investigated by the police and said too that CANU was not
investigating the matter.
However, Harold Hopkinson, CEO and owner of Secure
Innovations and Concepts said the company conducted its
private investigation which showed that there was no sign
that his employee had stolen the woman's money.
Further, Hopkinson said those investigations had revealed
too that the woman's money was checked and counted by a CANU
officer before she was checked by his personnel, and at
which point she had discovered one of the hundred dollar
He told Stabroek News that when the alarm was raised he
gave instructions for his employee, who was identified by
the outgoing passenger, to be searched.
"So she was searched and by a CANU officer as well
and all the other officers at the gate were searched,"
According to Hopkinson, even as workers were about to
leave at the end of the shift for that day he requested that
all of them return to the office where a search was
conducted on each of them but nothing was found.
He said even the washroom which the officer had visited
was searched, but again nothing was found.
Hopkinson said too that he has since reviewed the video
tape of operations for that day and found no suspicious
behaviour by the young woman who searched Bacchus's bag.
He said the camera faced the officer and there was no
sign that the officer could have taken the money unless the
woman "fell asleep while her bag was being
"There is no way that one could have taken that
money from her from a set of 100 US dollar bills wrapped in
rubber band while she was wide awake," Hopkinson
asserted adding that the video showed clearly the woman
watching attentively as her bag was being searched.
"It was about 15 minutes after she went on the plane
she came back with an airhostess and we learnt that some
person on the plane helped her count her money and there's a
possibility it could have gone missing at that point as
well," he said.
The man said he is satisfied with his investigations and
found nothing incriminating against his staff.
Hopkinson's Secure Inno-vations and Concepts has been
running security at the airport since 2000 and in his
opinion while it was the smallest company it is the one with
the highest reputation and has contracts with a number of
Bacchus in her letter to this newspaper said she and her
husband were convinced that when they checked the money
before she left home they had done so correctly but after
the CANU officer made the count she had to accept that it
was 43 100 US dollar bills.
A source at the Timehri airport however has informed
Stabroek News that money going missing from travellers' hand
luggage after they were searched was nothing news but this
was the most he had heard of in a long time.
"People know that this thing does happen but like
the powers are not prepared to take the required action
against these people," the source said.
'People does really get lick up here but sometimes they
find out too late and it really don't mek sense because the
security people who doing the checks, they collude with one
another and take people's money," he added.
Stabroek News understands that the police are awaiting
the woman's return to Guyana to pursue investigations since
the original report to the police station was made on her
behalf by her husband.