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Jamaican Canadians Laud Security Forces in Hostage Incident

April 20, 2009

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Jamaicans living in Canada are praising the Jamaican security forces for the positive outcome to the hostage incident, at the Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay, St. James, today (April 20).
“I am proud as a Jamaican that we were able to get out of this without anyone getting hurt,” said Director of Programme and Community Initiative, at Four Villages Community Health Centre, Nzinga Walker.
“I hope people will realise that this is just an isolated incident. And it was good to see our hospitality on display. All the hostages, after they were released, were treated to the best hospitality,” she said.
Ms. Walker told JIS News that she was glued to different media outlets all morning, to keep abreast of what was happening.
The hostage incident began at 10:22 Sunday night (April 19), when a man forced his way through security checkpoints with a gun, and boarded a CanJet aircraft with 167 persons on board. The aircraft was destined for Halifax, Canada, via Havana, Cuba.
The incident was resolved eight hours later when the security forces accessed the plane and disarmed the gunman. No one was harmed, including the crew members who were on board. The passengers were released before the rescue operation.
Immediate Past President of the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation (JDCF), Philip Mascoll, said the crisis was professionally handled.
“It was the first time that Jamaica has faced something like this and it proves that the security forces in Jamaica can handle anything. I congratulate them on this ending without anybody getting hurt,” he said.
Director and former President of the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA), Paul Barnett, said he felt especially pleased when he heard a CanJet official praising the Jamaican security personnel on how well they handled the situation. “It was also good that Prime Minister Bruce Golding was there in Montego Bay,” he added.
Businesswoman, Letna Allen-Rowe, added her praises for “the brave attempt on the part of our security forces”.
“They did this without any major incident and resolved it in a very short time. It just shows that the Jamaican Government and security personnel are on top of their game,” she said.
Ms. Allen-Rowe added that this incident should not in “any form or shape hurt Jamaica’s tourism industry”.
“Anybody who has booked a vacation in Jamaica should not let this be an impediment to them going. Jamaica is still one of the safest destinations to visit,” she pointed out.
Listen to the CBC Radio Show ‘As It Happens’ – Apr 20, 2009

Last Updated: August 27, 2013

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