News & Media

SXM Airport Gets Most Sophisticated Security System in Caribbean

Duncan Says Airport Security Staff Could Become Auxiliary Police Following Training at Justice Academy

Minister of Justice, Hon. Roland Duncan being shown the new CCTV system. (SMX Airport Photo)

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten (February 27, 2013) - The Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) has concluded phase one of the installation of what is considered "the most sophisticated security system in the whole Caribbean." This was disclosed at a press conference held Wednesday morning at the airport.

The security system, consisting of ultra-modern, weather-tested cameras supplied by Bosch, a global leader in this field, was designed by United Technologies Group NV (UTG), established in St. Maarten, in collaboration with Mako Systems Inc. of Sun Valley, California.

According to UTG's managing director, Christian Lont, a number of cameras were installed covering 80% of the airport, from the Operations Tower to the luggage-handling areas and jet bridges.

Lont said 14 security officers and 13 Operations Tower personnel were trained in the use of the cameras, and praised the excellent team work that made the realization of the project possible.

Speaking earlier at the press conference, PJIAE managing director Regina LaBega said that since, for SXM Airport, the "number one priority is human safety, we thought we should join together with UTG, a leading company in St. Maarten and together with Bosch, to ensure that we have a proper CCTV system."

"Of course, the safety of our employees, our stakeholders, our passengers, the aircrafts, etc., is of paramount importance," she continued. "We sat here, I believe, it was almost two years ago with the Hon. Minister of Justice and the then Acting Shareholder's Representative and we discussed how important it was to have a secure airport, but not just the airport, but the surrounding area as well, and we pledged our commitment not only to ensuring that the airport is safe, but also the surrounding area as a good community partner and here we are today."

Master of Ceremony at the press conference, Robert Clifton Brown, Special Projects Coordinator at PJIAE, stressed that this was "a very important initiative for the airport."

"It enhances the quality of our airport security system, making our airport more secure and assisting Operations and the Security Departments in carrying out this very important and critical job of safeguarding the airport."

As one of the project leaders, he conceded that, "this wasn't an easy project to pull off." But, he added, "because of the commitment from the very beginning of the managing director, the project was able to kick off and today we can say it's done."

Brown disclosed with pride that SXM Airport "has the most sophisticated security system on the island and in the whole Caribbean region."

Representatives of Bosch, Mako Systems Inc., and UTG as well as members of the Supervisory Board of Directors of PJIAE, Gary Matser and Cleveland Beresford join Minister Duncan (front, 2nd from L) and PJIAE managing director, Regina LaBega (next to him) and other management staff of SXM for a group photo. (SXM Airport photo)

Security Staff as Extraordinary Police Officers

Justice Minister Roland Duncan, in an improvised address earlier, congratulated the managing director and the entire staff. "The idea of security is very important. Politically, I'm responsible for the security and safety of (St. Maarten) and this is one of the best ways we can ensure that security."

"Over a year ago now, we also had the harbor representatives here who are engaged in a similar project. The idea is to bring harbor, airport and the rest of the island together in a nice, compatible and I would say interchanging communicating system or systems, which would ensure that we can see all we need to see and we could help secure the airport, the harbor and the island."

Pledging "all the support and cooperation" his ministry can offer, Minister Duncan said, "we are engaged in getting a similar project where (St. Maarten) is concerned and one of the requirements is that all of it shall tie in so that we can see what we need to see and exchange information, etc."

He announced that his ministry will be offering the airport management training sessions for the security employees.

"We've set up a Justice Academy and very soon it will be incorporated and part of its duties will be to organize training courses for security staff. The employees of the airport who pass the course could be appointed extraordinary police officers."

The minister said, in his opinion, those people who are charged with operating and observing the cameras should be able to function as extraordinary police officers because, "if they detect anything illegal while on the cameras, for instance, they can act immediately and issue process verbal and take the necessary legal action and the airport can be very proactive where this is concerned."

Bosch engineer and instructor, Scott Glidden, said SXM Airport has installed a "foundational system" that allows for growth in the future with newer technologies.

Glidden said he was very impressed with the security personnel of the airport whom he described as "super-intelligent" and commended the professionalism of the airport's IT staff. "I had a magnificent experience," he said, adding that his company would offer further "remote training" should the need arise.

Attending the press conference were members of the Supervisory Board of Directors of PJIAE, Gary Matser and Cleveland Beresford, as well as top officials of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce, and directors and other staff of PJIAE.