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Events promoter says he was treated badly at AIA

Events promoter says he was treated badly at AIA


Vincentian Tita James, a promoter who resides in the United States of America (USA), is accusing law enforcement officers stationed at the Argyle International Airport (AIA) of treating him in a very unprofessional manner.

James, one of the promoters behind “Cooler Fete,” said that on April 11, he arrived at the AIA at around 9.30 p.m., cleared Immigration and Customs, after which he was stopped by a man who said he was a police officer, but refused to show him identification.

“The customs officer dealt with me and told me to have a good night, but then a man walked up to me and say he is a police… he need to search bag. I say where is your identification; you can’t search my bag, because you not showing me an ID,” said James, who claims that the man responded by telling him that he will not show him an ID and, “he would stay here whole night”.

James said that another man approached them, took out a card that identified himself as a police officer and told him that it was a random search and he would like to take him into a room and search his luggage.

“They took out everything from all my bags… I had a carry-on, knapsack and a suitcase, even the soap I had to take to Bequia for Easter they opened,” revealed James, who was made to empty his pockets and hand over his spending money to the officers.

“They insist they have to check my money, about US$800. I said it wasn’t EC$10,000. That is very bad. I had just come off a flight, so why they choose me? I come home all the time. I do events here and I come home three times a year, Easter, Carnival and Christmas.

“That was crazy. They make me feel really bad, it was upsetting after flying all day and to come to my own country and have to go through that,” stressed James.

The irate man said that through all his years of living in the USA and travelling extensively he has never gone through something like that.

“I come home all the time and this has never happened here or anywhere else. I live in New York, never went through that and for me to come to my own country and go through that was really bad. It was my first time coming in my new airport and have to go through that. It’s embarrassing,” said James.

He said that what was also unprofessional is that the first officer did not want to show ID and spoke to him very rudely.

“The way they talking to me inside the room, I don’t know how they could talk to people like that,” James said.

The promoter said that he has heard Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves speak about the way persons should be treated at the AIA, even if they are suspected of criminal activity and what they did was totally opposite to what the PM said.

“The PM talk to them about this thing. I heard him on the radio and they continue doing it and something has to be done. They found nothing in my bag. They wanted to know who is picking me up and all that. How is that their business? They make me almost miss my ride also,” said James.

Head of Security at the AIA Keith Miller could not be reached for a comment on Monday.