News on Sunday

Young Professionals - Drug Free Airport: Harsher Security Control at our Border

Young Professionals

Latest technology equipment will be installed with German expertise in the strategic points of Plaisance Airport. By the end of October, the system will be fully operational. Police, customs, employees, passengers and visitors, all will be subjected to controls in the airport area. These measures have been announced by Plaisance Drug Free Airport. How far will these measures bring the desired results? Our young professionals offer their perspectives.


Mokshada Bohoorun : “We must have stricter laws”

The use of machines with new technologies will be far more advantageous than the traditional method of drug detection, says Mokshada. “A key factor in the prevention of drug smuggling is better cooperation between related stakeholders and more resources focused on the profiling of suspects. However, along with the use of new technologies, I believe that we must have stricter laws when it comes to travelling by air. As the number of flights multiplies, so do the means for drug smuggling. There must be a proper follow-up on the passengers coming or leaving the country.”

She believes that apart from introducing new scanners for the detection of drugs, the authorities can also adopt “intelligent” fingerprinting so as to identify where potential suspects and a proper follow-up can be implemented.  “A method of fingerprinting that enables both identification of an individual and simultaneous determination of the chemical makeup of the sweat deposited in the fingerprint has been determined. Potential applications of this methodology are enormous as the functionalization of nanoparticles with other antibodies enables the specific detection of numerous antigens within a fingerprint.”


Keshvin Balloo:“There should be a perfect mix of equipment and human resources” 

Keshvin Balloo states that Mauritius has been in acute shortage of advanced equipment and as a result of which, this scourge is on a rising trend. “Making use of these equipment will not be enough to track down drug traffickers. Along with capital equipment, the human resources should be upgraded. In a more explicit way, the stakeholders, most specifically the custom officers, police officers and others have to be given more appropriate training. In other words, for example, to become a police officer or customs officer requires 10 months’ training.

I am of the opinion that this type of preparation should be 24 months and be more extensive, which will result in a more efficient and promising output in the future. Capital equipment along with good human resources will be the perfect mix to decrease that plague, if not eradicating it.”


Zakil Tarsoo : “Ban VIP lounges as well” 

The setting up of recent sophisticated technology to prevent drug trafficking via airline transportation will surely discourage people to import drugs because the establishment of latest gadgets will detect any type of trafficking, says Zakil. “However as in any other profession, not all officers act with integrity. Some may be influenced by bribery and allow drug traffickers to enter the country; that is why we should also invest on body scanning for policemen and other officers working at AML. This will reduce the rate of corruption.”

He further explains that if the situation concerning drugs is so alarming due to corruption, we should ban access to VIP lounges at AML. It is difficult to know what the VIPs might be importing from other countries. No one has the authority to check their luggage. Obviously, a corrupted person might be able to get away with drug trafficking. So, I firmly believe we should ban the VIP lounges.”


Luvtasna Auchombit : “Passenger Profiling is effective” 

Luvtasna argues that the measures being announced are good and might significantly reduce drug trafficking cases in our country if they are implemented properly. “One measure that can effectively help us in our combat against drugs is Passenger Profiling. Many things can be uncovered by studying someone’s behavioural patterns.

Recently, we have been getting several cases where people have swallowed drug balloons and research has shown that these individuals tend to exhibit unusual behaviours, so in this case, the training of customer care staff can help us detect something suspicious, as they are the ones in direct contact with the passengers.” 

She adds that this technique can prove to be quite useful in our context, as we have a relatively small airport, as compared to countries like the United Kingdom and the United States. “This technique is also relatively cheap, as it does not require any high end technology and can be easily implemented in our system. In the end, we have a long way to go as a country to be drug free and I think the only way to accelerate this process is through a drastic change in the public’s mentality because the State cannot do everything.” 


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