Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Canjet : Flight 918

With a population of just about 2.8 million Jamaica seems to have a knack for making the head lines on both sides of the divide - i.e. both good and bad. By now the whole world must know that we have 'succeeded' in adding 'hijacking' to the list of crimes we see to cultivate locally.

The details from the various sources seem somewhat contradictory, but yes, the question remains how could a 20 year old man - Stephen Fray, make it through all the security checks - including metal detectors and personal searches (we are assuming these were done) - on to the Canada bound Canjet flight where he proceeded to brandish his gun, fire a shot, release all the passengers in exchange for their money and valuables, demand to be carried elsewhere, and then hold the crew hostage for the next eight or so hours. Lots of parallels to gun men hijacking buses in down town Kingston and elsewhere in the country, but yes, they don't go through metal detectors or security checks do they?

Needless to say its embarassing, and while the governent seems to be making a big show of him being mentally unstable - all the more embarassing! - some serious questions still remain about security at what is the island's second largest airport - first largest if you look at it from the point of view of tourism. Though the island had collectively gasped at the incident and then collectively exhaled when it was all over, one still is waiting for the dust to settle and to see if we can get the answers to the numerous questions. To borrow a fellow blogger Nana Yaw's style:
  • Why did Stephen cause the fray?
  • What will this do to tourism in Montego Bay?
  • Is it still 'highjacking' since the plane was not in flight?
  • How will the Jamaican government re-act to this the latest plight?
  • Will it give ideas to the area dons who wouldn't have hesitated to shoot to kill?
  • Worse, will this give ideas to others who are bent on terrosrism still?
Guess time will tell.
Ironically, the Canadian Prime Minister was in the island for a working visit on the day when the 'highjacking' occured. One of the main agreements while he was here was the signing on a MoU between both countries and the promise of funds to upgrade the justice system. No doubt Stephen will benefit from this in time.


posekyere said...

The Stephen Fray show as scary as it may appear at first is really nothing more than a man crying out for help.
It is depictive of the high levels of mental cases happening all over the place at this moment of economic tsunami.
I hope he is taken to a hospital and not dumped in a prison.

posekyere said...

Btw, are you staying near Montego Bay? Hopefully Jamaica's tourism is not overly down as a result of the global recession.