David Hinds: I refer to the letter by the Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, Mr James Singh, purporting to explain the search of my luggage at the Cheddi Jagan Airport on June 14, 2010 (‘CANU does not conduct operations based on political directives’ Stabroek News, June 30).
First, contrary to what he reported, the officer who searched my luggage was not the one who apologized to me. Second, it was a bottle of Jerk seasoning that fell and not achar. Third, no offer of compensation was made to me. In fact it was I who asked the officer who conducted the search about compensation. He responded that it was the airline’s responsibility and escorted me to the waiting lounge and left.
I am trying to understand what David Hinds' beef is.
- He suggested that the officers who conducted the search were courteous-Good.
- He lost a bottle of jerk seasoning and not Achar-Ok.
- An officer representing CANU apologized to him for the lost of his seasoning and perhaps the search- Very good.
- He was called over the PA system as Dr. and not Mr.- Big deal.
- He claims he was the only one searched that day- Still not sure how he knows that.
- He was able to board his flight out and without delay-Ok.
To me, whether or not this search was politically motivated or by CANU “acting on instructions” this whole incident is more unfortunate than it is a cause for the outrage that is being displayed in the press. Airport searches are standard operating procedures around the world and at each airport the methods are different.Who to search is often left to the DISCRETION of the airport authorities and that invites profiling in any form. I think Mr. Hinds was not delayed or detained, apparently was not harassed, was apologized to, lost a bottle of Achar and is seeking compensation ($3.00?). The the only thing that suggested he was about to become the victim of a “crime” seem to be that he was called; Dr. and not Mister.