Pressure for Trinis at JFK

One Trinidadian – Kareem Ibrahim – and three Guyanese – Abdul Kadir, Russell De Freitas, and Abdel Nur – were arrested and charged with conspiracy to blow up buildings, fuel tanks and pipelines at JFK Airport.

The discovery of the plot is the latest attempt to cause destruction on the American people. The fact that a Trinidad and Tobago national is involved was not good news for the people of the twin-island country.

It starts with the aircraft arriving from Piarco Airport and Guyana. The Caribbean Airlines flight BW 424 which arrived here on Tuesday evening, was given special attention by the Customs and Border Control officials. In the past, an arriving passenger would simply go up to the Immigration officer for clearance.

After last weekend’s events, Immigration officers are meeting you from the moment you enter Terminal Building No 4. Then, before you could reach the Immigration line, there are two others waiting for you half way. They check your passport, look at your face and ask you if you came from Trinidad.

Lawrence Duprey, chairman of CL Financial, was among those who found this out when he landed on Tuesday evening. At the Immigration counter, passengers are asked more than usual – when last were you here, how long you plan to stay, is this address a hotel or a private residence, where do you plan to go on this visit, and last of all, do you know any of these people associated with this bomb plot?

Several Trinidadians were pulled out of the line and “further screened” inside a room before they were given clearance to move on. The situation was the same at the Customs line. The Customs officers asked the same questions. One officer said because of what unfolded last weekend, the heat was on Trinidad and Guyana. “We have to be vigilant at all times, could you imagine what could have happened if this was not stopped. You and I would not be standing here today. Could you imagine how many of your people in Queens would have died?” the officer asked.

Inside the terminal building, the signs were clear “no cell phones, no photography.” One thing was clear – there was an increase in security inside the terminal building. Police officers were heavily armed and walked in pairs. There were dogs walking between passengers and their bags. Police officers were picking people at random and asking “how is your day?” while looking over you from head to toe. From the moment you put down any bag or package, a policeman is on to you.

According to the Immigration officer, this special attention on arriving passengers from Trinidad and Guyana will continue indefinitely. Newsday learned that aircraft coming from the Caribbean are left on the tarmac instead of being directed right up to the terminal building.

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"Pressure for Trinis at JFK"

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