News & Media

Speech of Mr. Michel Hyman, Caretaker PJIAE, at the Official Opening of Police Office at SXM Airport

Monday, June 26, 2017

Honourable Minister of Justice,
Mr. Raphael Boasman,
Chief of Police,
Mr. Carl John,
Division Head of the Judicial Department,
Denise Jacobs,
Head of Police aux Frontières (PAF),
Mr. Jean-Luc
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good afternoon.

It is a well-known fact that we live in a very dangerous world. Since 9/11, the aviation industry has become a constant target for terrorists. Airports around the world have had more than their own share of threats and attacks. And while we thank God that our own Princess Juliana International Airport has so far been spared the horrors of such attacks, we are reminded each day that safety and security should always be THE PRIORITY for all of us.

(SXM Airport photo)

Naturally, we take safety and security seriously. Our Security Department exists to ensure the protection and safety of all the users of the airport, from the passengers and crew to the ground personnel, staff, employees, stakeholders and the general public and the facilities that we have. But safety is a team effort. It is therefore everybody’s business. But the professionals have a special and very important role to play in ensuring safety.

That is why it gives me great pleasure to address you today on the occasion of the opening of this office where the Alpha Team will operate from. 2

The Alpha Team, as you know, consists of Immigration and Border Protection officers, Customs, the Police and detectives of the KPSM and officers of the Royal Marechaussees and the French PAF.

Their presence has and will continue to further enhance security at SXM Airport and improve the response time to unlawful threats and situations in which safety and security may be compromised. The Alpha Team has been working closely with the airport operators as well as the airlines to coordinate action against terrorist and other criminal threats to the safety and security of aviation on the island. I am happy to report that cooperation between the airport and the Police in this area is at an all-time high.

It has taken several years to get to this point. You will recall that a few years ago, SXM Airport signed an SLA with the Ministry of Justice to secure and improve the border services at the airport by entering into a partnership to install ABC E-Gates and APC Kiosks.

(SXM Airport photo)

In fact, someone once said safety is as simple as ABC; in other words, Always Be Careful. However, for us at SXM Airport, safety is not a slogan; it is what we do 24/7, because we know that safety is not the absence of risk, but the proper management of risk. And, as the saying goes, the safest risk is the one that was not taken. I can assure you that the airport and KPSM are working together to provide the best possible safety and security by minimizing risk.

I wish to, therefore, thank the Honorable Minister of Justice, Mr. Raphael Boasman and his staff as well as the KPSM headed by Chief of Police, Mr. Carl John, the SXM Airport team and all the stakeholders for making this day possible. 3

Permit me to end by reminding everyone that safety never takes a vacation; it requires constant vigilance and alertness. We cannot gamble with safety because we would only be betting with people’s lives.

May the Good Lord continue to protect us and keep us safe.

I thank you.