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How prepared are we to deal with a real bomb threat?

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Fri, Jul 20. 2012

The most recent “bomb threat”, which was called in at the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday, has once again raised a number of questions, including our readiness to deal with such situations.

Although SEARCHLIGHT does not usually reward the perpetrators of such acts (who are usually misguided persons with extra time on their hands) by giving them the publicity they crave, it is important to highlight some areas to which we should pay attention, and at the same time make an appeal for these acts to stop.{{more}}

It would seem that at the threat of a bomb placed at any location, the persons who seem to take these situations most seriously are the members of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, who do their best, given limited resources, to respond to the situation, while others, mainly the general public, seem either nonchalant, irritated or overly curious, when instead they should be cooperative and move as far away from the location, as quickly as possible.

All bomb threats should be taken seriously and every precaution should be taken, because we do not know when or if, God forbid, the threat could be real.

That being said, are members the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force adequately trained and properly equipped for the discovery, diffusing or disposal of an incendiary or explosive device, which could cause destruction, injuries or death?

After locating such a device what next? How would it be dealt with? We need the assurance that our law enforcement officers are adequately trained and equipped to handle such matters in a manner which does not place them or the general public at any extra risk.

The next issue is the apprehension of the culprits who commit these offenses. We assume that the telecommunications companies are able to trace calls made on their networks. Even if the line where the call originates is identified, it is not always possible to pinpoint the person who actually made the call. If, however, the culprit is indentified, are there laws in place to ensure that the perpetrator is adequately penalized, if found guilty?

The act of calling in a bomb threat can be described one of the most disgusting and cowardly acts that an individual can commit.

The inconvenience, suffering and trauma that is caused, can have a lasting effect on the persons who have to make a mad dash from their workplace or institution because of the thoughtlessness of one or more individuals.

In 2008, a call to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital caused almost the entire facility to be evacuated to the nearby Victoria Park. The sick, the dying, and persons who were about to be operated on were displaced because of this act. Whatever became of the investigation into this matter? The public would the happy to hear that someone was/would be held accountable for that incident and also the one last Tuesday. What if this week’s call was made during the school term? Think of the chaos it would have caused.

We are making an appeal for persons who consider making bomb threats a fun act to refrain from doing so, and for anyone who has information which could lead to the arrest of the culprits to pass the information on to the police.

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