Harry Gill says he’s being set up by the Government of Guyana
Dear Minister Rohee,
I arrived in Guyana with the full expectation that something unpleasant may happen to me. I took the necessary precautions, avoided taking unnecessary risks and was very vigilant during my entire stay there. But I did not go to Guyana to be locked away indoors. I intended having a good time, and that I did.
However, just when I thought my fears were unfounded, I was selected for some special treatment… courtesy of the Guyana Government.
As planned, I arrived at Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) early for my return trip home to New York. At the check-in counter, I was informed almost apologetically by the Caribbean Airlines employee that I had been “Selected by the Government of Guyana for a Secondary Security Search (SSSS)”. The young lady was so professional in the way she made the announcement, it almost sounded as though I had won the lottery jackpot.
This instruction, I was told, came directly from the Government of Guyana and had nothing to do with the airline. My two suitcases were tagged with the initials “SSSS”. A dog sniffed my luggage, and they were thoroughly inspected by airline security and a second time by a police detective from the CID. Before reaching the Departure Lounge, I was searched a third time, and yet a fourth before departure. There, I was again thoroughly searched, complete with a body pat down as if they were desperate to find something on me. They were disappointed I’m sure. I was the last passenger to board.
But it did not end there; upon my arrival at JFK Airport in New York, I was horrified to see stickers on both my suitcases, with instructions to “Call Security”. Whoever was responsible for putting my name on the blacklist at CJIA, is guilty of exercising a wicked abuse of power, designed to harass and intimidate me, and get US Border & Customs officials to do the same, by implying that I am in possession of some illegal substance.
The entire paragraph above was written last March 2011 after I had returned from Guyana, where I celebrate my birthday. You may recall that event, for we met briefly at Palm Court. I was advised against publishing the letter, because I was told it may be an isolated case. But the fact that it’s happening every time I travel from Guyana, proves to be deliberate. For since then, I have been the victim of harassment every time I depart CJIA.
Although I’m no longer subject to the intense Secondary Security Search, the “Call Security” stickers are still placed on my baggage tags, resulting in my luggage being opened and searched in Trinidad where my valuables are being stolen, and again at JFK Airport in New York.
I know that these “Call Security” stickers originate in Guyana, because unlike last March when Caribbean Airlines changed planes, forcing New York bound passengers and their luggages to disembark, I did not change planes in Trinidad last August on my return trip from Guyana. As such, my luggage was not taken off the plane there. But when I arrived in New York, the “Call Security” stickers were there. Both suitcases had notices placed inside advising me that they were opened and inspected by US Customs & Homeland Security.
Of course, they found nothing, and nothing was stolen. But this confirmed my suspicion that my gold jewelry and other valuables that were stolen from my suitcases last March, was by one or more customs officials in Trinidad. And they were given the green light to do so by someone in the Guyana Government who authorized placing those stickers on my baggage tags.
As you are aware, Minister Rohee, I was recently in Guyana for a week, and attended the opening of Parliament there. When I departed CJIA last Monday, I was relieved at not being unduly searched by airport security. When the plane touched down in Trinidad, although there was no prior indication from Caribbean Airlines that New York bound passengers had to disembark there, once again we were told to do so to accommodate a change of aircraft.
I was fearful of this, but I had taken the precaution in Guyana of putting all my valuables in my carryon bag. One suitcase was totally empty, but the other filled with clothes, shoes, and a few items that if stolen, I could afford to lose.
When I finally arrived at JFK in New York, I was once again very annoyed to see that my full suitcase was opened and those dreadful “Call Security” stickers plastered on my baggage tags.
When I got home, I realized that the hook on the zipper of my expensive suitcase was broken, apparently it was easier to break that than to open the lock, and two sealed bottles of my expensive colognes were stolen: Dolce Gabbana and Gucci Guilty. The colognes can easily be replaced, but I can never lock my US$400 Samsonite suitcase again. It is now useless for travel.
I cannot continue taking these loses and harassment every time I visit relatives and friends in the land of my birth. And to be quite frank, there are very few, including yourself, and Commissioner of Police Henry Greene, who has the authority to dictate whose names are placed on the blacklist at the airport.
As such, I call upon you and the Police Commissioner to make public any incriminating report, document, photograph or audio evidence that would suggest Harry Gill to be a risk to the nation security of Guyana, or the national security of any other nation. I further give you permission to make public anything in your files that would suggest Harry Gill is known by the Guyana Police of being involved in any criminal or subversive activity.
But I am confident this will never happen. For my only crime, Sir, was to call for your resignation and that of Police Commissioner Henry Greene in some of my previous letters.
No one should be allowed to use his/her position in Government to intimidate and harass any citizen for voicing their opinion.
The security of CJIA falls under your portfolio. You must be aware of all the names that are blacklisted at the airport, even if you did not put them there yourself. You must know the culprit that maliciously put my name there.
I therefore call upon you, Minister Rohee, to delete my name from that list forthwith, or publish the reason it is there. In any event, I want some assurance that the next time I visit Guyana, I will not suffer the same harassment and personal losses whenever I’m forced to change planes in Trinidad, and if I get this assurance, there would be no reason for me to consult a leading attorney in Guyana to have this simple, personal, vindictive matter cleared up once and for all.