Guyanese held in New York airports crackdown
By Vishnu Bisram
December 18, 2002
The U.S. has arrested several Guyanese among 127 airport employees in a crackdown against workers who man security operations at New York area airports. Most of the Guyanese arrested worked at JFK in New York.
The workers arrested were charged with filing fraudulent applications for high-security badges to work at airports. The badges provide access to restricted areas at the airports. New government regulations for airport jobs require applicants to be American citizens and to not have any (current or past) criminal record.
Among the 127 arrested are: Pearl Sundersingh, Jeet Singh, Etwaroo Seecharan, Dookeran Sewdarsan, Gaurie Samaroo, Cecil Ramdayal, Rambhaujee Deodat, Tajnatine Ganesh, Khanja Ahmed, Sheebran Baboolal, Hussain Omar, Krishna Jaglal, Budhu Jaikarran, Ashfaque Khan, Purushottan Mahar, and Rishi Kisoensingh.
The U.S. government has filed criminal and administrative charges against all 127 arrested. Those living in Queens will be prosecuted and tried in Queens. If convicted, most of the accused could be deported back to their home countries if they are not American citizens.
Hundreds of Guyanese work at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York and have been subjected to very intense background checks over the last year. In light of the September 11, 2001 aviation terrorism and ongoing terror activities against Americans, the US has stepped up security operations at airports and has begun background checks on all airport employees. These background checks led to the arrest of the Guyanese.
The issue of access to secure and restricted areas by individuals who have airport security badges and U.S. Customs Service Seals, became an important concern after the September terror attacks.
Dubbed `Operation Eye Sky', the government using 14 different agencies investigated the background of 40,000 workers who work at JFK and LaGuardia and who have access to restricted areas that lead to aircrafts and the tarmac.