Jamaica Gleaner / Armed with an initial subvention of $180 million, new chairman of the Port Security Corps (PSC), Ferris Ziadie, is on a drive to create an agency which can rival the much-heralded United Transport Security Administration (TSA) in the United States.
The TSA is an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, created after the September 11 terrorist attacks, while the PSC is an agency of Jamaica’s Ministry of Transport, created in 1989 after a massive ganja find on an Air Jamaica aircraft.
Both entities are mandated to ensure the security of the travelling public and Ziadie is determined to match, if not outperform, the TSA.
NOWEQUIPPED “After the Government created this elite unit, they didn’t give them the tools to do the job. So basically, the Government has now given us the tools, so you are going to see a new Port Security Corps going forward,” Ziadie told The Sunday Gleaner .
“We have received some badly needed funding for uniform, insurance, health insurance, equipment, and very, very important, retraining of everybody. So we are going First-World style. This is going to be the Jamaican TSA … within 12 months of today and nobody is going stop them,” added Ziadie.
According to the retired businessman, already the PSC has been given designated areas at the island’s ports. This means that although members of the PSC will coordinate with other entities, no other security company or security apparatus can work in these designated areas.
“When I inherited the organisation, the truth be told, they just took them and throw them out there and say go do a wuk. That’s it. They were on their own. The Government, under (transport minister) Mike Henry, has said to me, ‘you go in there and fix it. Your job now is to turn it into something that we can be proud of’.
“So I went in there and met the staff; they are the greatest in the world. All we need to do now is to take care of them and give them proper training, and nowhere in the world is anybody going to be as good as them. When we are finished with them, they are going to be the best,” declared Ziadie, as he noted that following approval of a Cabinet submission in May 2016, the process of strengthening the PSC started in earnest.
According to Ziadie, the safety of the Jamaican people is first and foremost for any government, and in keeping with this, securing the country’s borders and points of entry, such as airports and seaports, is of utmost importance.
ANOVERHAUL Tasked with overhauling the entire administrative management structure of the PSC as part of improving its operation, Ziadie is on a mission.
During a visit to the Norman Manley International Airport recently, ahead of a meeting with PSC members, he offered some insight into the planned evolution.
“Currently, it has one general manager, an operations manager, and a finance manager, and so on. We’re going to get two deputy general managers, along with the general manager, and then we’re going to put finance and operations under one, put administration and HR (human resources) under one, and so forth, and we’re going to break it down with layers of responsibility,” said Ziadie.
Members of the almost 1,000-strong PSC are responsible for securing Jamaica’s three international airports, the aerodromes, cruise ship piers, the Kingston Freeport Terminal, the Kingston and Montego Bay free zones, and the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre.