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Professor Wellington Ramos. (IWN file photo)
Professor Wellington Ramos. (IWN file photo)
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Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace says he was disturbed to hear that U.S.-based Garifuna leader professor Wellington Ramos was searched as he left St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) via E.T. Joshua Airport.

“And I want to condemn that act unequivocally,” Eustace said on his weekly radio programme on Monday.

“I don’t believe it was any random search. I believe it was a deliberate thing to harass him,” Eustace said.

“We can’t operate like that. We’re supposed to be a civilised country and I believe people were acting on instruction. There is no random nothing. And it’s deplorable and I want to make that unequivocally clear,” he said.

Ramos came to SVG for a one-week visit to hold talks with the opposition New Democratic Party about its proposal to grant honorary citizenship to all Garifuna.

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He arrived in the country to VIP treatment arranged by the NDP, including use of the VIP lounge at the airport.

But Eustace said that when Ramos was departing, after he had checked his bags and was proceeding to the VIP lounge, someone approached him with a document saying he had been selected for a random search.

Eustace said it seems “like if his (Ramos’) name was picked out of some line”.

Ramos was then taken to another section of the airport where his bags were search, then he escorted back to the VIP lounge.

“I don’t understand that, you know,” Eustace said.

He explained that when Ramos arrived, he waited in the VIP lounge and his bags were brought to him after Customs checked Customs.

“When he came here, I met him. I was at the VIP lounge waiting for him when he came off the plane — along with other members of our party. He was processed there; nobody didn’t search his bag when he came in,” Eustace said.

15 replies on “Airport search was ‘deliberate’ to ‘harass’ Garifuna leader — Eustace”

  1. I would have expected that kind of scum behaviour, it comes as no surprise at all to me.

    You can be sure it comes right from the top.

    1. Luther Bonadie says:

      Peter, You sound like a fool. Why don’t you stop showing your bias hatred. Then you can see things in a different lite, maybe then you’ll make some sence to all if us.

      1. Luther, I may sound like a fool to you, but there is no doubt by any of the readers that you are not just a fool but a paid online ULP fool.

        So may I suggest you get back to Gotham City, where you belong in that Superman comic book.

        Tell your boss, the Joker, that I sent you home.

  2. January 9 I left St Vincent to return to Canada I was randomly searched at the airport while waiting on Liat that was delayed is that an act of harass or is it they following proceeding.In December 2013 I was leaving airport in Montero bay Jamaica I was randomly searched is that harassment, better yet my laugage was left in Toronto while going to Jamaica and in Barbados on Christmas eve while heading to st Vincent I figured they should called that spite.When our prime minister was searched in Barbados was that harassment even though he holds a diplomatic passport an is a VIP with escort when he travels. So Mr Eustace when local people get turned up at arnos vale why it don’t make news.

    1. bighead, maybe you look dodgy, I cannot say. But how you could be stopped is a mystery because you do not exist.

      Further more seeing as you are a nobody they may want to stop you, but to stop someone who is a known visitor to the state is like stopping someone visiting the Gonsalves family dynasty plantation, of course that would never happen.

      I was told and verily believe it to be true that there was an instruction given by an unelectable ULP senator.

  3. “Deliberate To Harass”….I tried hard to resist the temptation to react to this, but I just cannot ignore the crazy rantings of elected and paid politicians who should know better.

    First, a quick summary for readers who might not be aware of the rationale for searches. In reaction to the terrorist acts and plots that exploited or attempted to exploit weaknesses in airport security (911 and post 911), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) increase its scrutiny in the security lines of airport by including more “private” searches. In turn, these standards are handed down and enforced worldwide as a standard practice today. I would not go into the regulatory and legal aspects but in essence, SVG has to abide by the standards if it is to operate an airport with flight to and from the outside world.

    In short, if you get picked at random in the line, you have the choice between two methods of advanced searches, and “private patting” is one of them. A lot of people have expressed concern about what they called an “invasion of privacy”, which is fair to some extent, with some people calling such searches “abuse”, “molesting” and “unconstitutional.” Until we get a better system that meets the international standard, these searches are part of international travel and my advice is if you don’t want the inconvenience, stay home. Remember, the fundamental reason for the search is a preventative and detective control; to mitigate the risks associated with terrorism, smuggling of illegal items, and even erroneous/accidental transport of dangerous (Hazmat) substances. It is for my protection, and yes Eustace, for your protection as well when you do travel.

    Now, I should not have to remind Mr.Eustace of the rationale but it sounds as though Mr Eustace wants the airport security to pick and choose its searches based on some sort of profiling where Mr Ramos is exempt. This is the same flawed profiling that has allowed terrorists to execute their plans successfully to date. As someone who travels quite frequently and has been searched several times, I can tell you that I believe the search process at ET Joshua Airport seems fair and random. I’ve witnessed young, old, rich, poor, popular, unpopular, ULP, NDP, etc – all types and profiles being asked politely and professionally to accompany the security officers for that random search. I’ve also been searched and witnessed this process far and wide (US/Canada/Europe/Asia etc), and whilst not a perfect system, people mostly embrace it as a necessary evil to keep them safe. I certainly do.

    So Mr.Eustace, sounds to me that you don’t agree with these control checks and or they should not be done for Kings like you and Ramos, but if I give you the benefit of the doubt, where’s the proof of this being deliberate? If you are going to say something, back it up with facts. Then again Mr Eustace, you have a habit of making lots of statements without factual supporting evidence. What a waste of my taxpayer dollar. Your Honorable Mr. Eustace, can I suggest you forego that salary and contribute it to the improvement of airport security?

    Pity, I was really hoping for better representation and balancing of the scales but all I’m seeing and hearing these days are crazy rants of desperate men. I’m left with choosing the lesser evil and I know many other NDP supporters now realize how dangerous it could be to allow mad men to rule.

    Disappointed in you and your team Sir!

    1. TedBlak, while I am all for these safety procedures, it is a pity you don’t have the intelligence to read between the lines. I do travel internationally too and on occasions is picked out for random search; at one time random search got me stuck in Pearson for one day. Sir, sometimes it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it…Mr. Eustace is a fine man. He don’t lie or steal or rape. He is transparent and with his team, very capable of putting our country back in a surplus. You will have to eat your words when the election results comes in later this year.

  4. Clement Percival says:

    A lot of nonsense from Tedblak and BIGD, disguised as experienced travelers. It is accepted protocol in our our countries, that if someone is receiving VIP privileges, attested to by use of the VIP Lounge, there is no search outside the confines of he VIP Lounge. Did this search take place there?

  5. It may or may not be a deliberate act of harassment and maybe it all has to do with 9/11.Do they randomly search the many venezuelans and cubans whom come here to do work on the Argyle International Airport many of whom am sure do not hold any diplomatic status?They would not dare to randomly search them because the next day they will be without a job.

    1. Petergriffin, there are Venezuelans that come to SVG with an aircraft loaded with big wooden crates. The Venezuelans never passed through immigration and the crates never passed through customs.

      What was that about?

  6. Sometimes these immigration and customs officers do things that defy logic. For example, as a Vincentian, with a Vincentian passport, I was told by the immigration officer that I could not enter the country except I told him how long I intended to stay. The queue was held up while I argued with the officer that I did not have to tell him any of that as I was simply a Vincentian returning home with a Vincentian passport. Meanwhile my American spouse was not asked, passport just stamped with 6 months stay allowed. Several years later I returned with an American passport, I was welcomed with no questions asked. The message? Hmmm! Don’t think the officers were told to single me out. I wonder the case of the Garifuna leader, if it was just employee ignorance of what VIP status entails, or was the officer instructed to do what he did. Please give the officer the benefit of the doubt – ignorance – until we have other facts to support the allegations.

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