Fear is Fair? Air Traffic Control of Barbados strain at gnat and swallow a veil: Cameras are questioned while Hijabs are allowed – Plus ATC’s Elevator is not working!

I was amazed and pleased at the youthfulness of the staff at the Air Traffic Control Tower, it was testimony to the brain-power of Barbados that there were many people who seemed 30 or under on board! Here's one explaining the almost mystical configurations of an Instrument Chart.

Facebook is an important tool which may supplant newspapers, advertising and even blogs not long from now… FB for Barbados has more leakages than Watergate, Bob Woodward, Julian Assange or Wiki-Leaks put together! Many crimes the Police pursue here have names of suspects alerted on the social forum faster than the newspapers or online editions – most times they have a detail missing so for my part, I avoid using the info unless I can get Direct confirmation from Police.

No Elevator ok? Suppose a desk or other Heavy Equipment had to be sent up there? How, via crane?

I say that as I received an invitation to check the Air Traffic Control tower via FB, and I was glad for an opportunity to access an area seldom seen. I also brought along my trusty camera… this was an issue? For me an Open Day indicates the public is coming, snapping pics and in your face asking either dumb or sharp questions – whether you wish to hear or not. Such were my days at CBC, yet a Supervisor at GAIA’s Tower was telling me CBC is different – but I reminded her both are part of Government and both deal with the public… No response!

The ATC supervisor was annoyed at this picture, where everyone is backing and no ID tags are visible, the gear looks as though it was State Of The Art about 1971, so what security risk? That you're obsolete?

I was in a small group of seven and we could not see the Tower immediately, as another group was already upstairs… So we learned about Instrument Charts; how planes are kept 1,000 miles apart ideally for traffic lanes; how Trinidad’s Piarco has largest air-space in Caribbean as they have oldest aviation history – but no Radar unlike Barbados whose air-space is only up to 24,500 feet, etc.

The guide on this leg of the tour was friendliest by far, yet even he looked at my Nikon - yet if you read this article I called no member of staff's name nor really revealed any aspect of Barbados' aeronautical data except for the most generic data allowed.

We finally get to go into the Tower and to shocks awaited us… First, no elevator, we had to walk what seemed like seven flights of steps – even skinny staff from American Airlines were out of breath by the time they reached the actual Tower’s station! The only warning we had was a paper sign taped up saying “ELEVATOR U/S” which translates as ‘Elevator Under Service‘ and no indication when it will be back to normal.

"What is that sticking out? No, I am not a man, that's my purse, you saucy Infidel! May Allah smite you for such prurience! Next thing you will ask for me to display my glory against the wishes of Mohammed, praised be His name!" {INTERNET IMAGE - NOT ACTUAL PORTRAYAL}

The group which kept us waiting was of Middle Eastern descent; I have said it before and will state again if the Islamic community have good deeds then please send me the photos and releases, I will make sure to carry them – I see Barbados Today recently had an item which means they’re probably now on a Watchdog list from the Barbados Free Press? LOL! Seriously, the group which delayed our sightseeing the Tower was Islamic, but not just any gathering… There were two children and one infant, a single male with skullcap, glasses, beard, long-shirt and other usual accoutrements – plus four alleged females, I phrase it this way since under a covering it could be anyone?

View of GAIA seldom seen by Barbadians, yet this picture was a problem - maybe I should change my religion?

I was so shocked at the gathering of veils I forgot to snap the people leaving the Tower, but I had six other witnesses who also went very quiet when they saw the team.

Does this look like modern equipment which you would put under lock & key from Al-Qaeda? Or something you may try and donate to them while upgrading your own gear?

Two were full burqas, and I mean even the dark gauze, so you cannot make out the eyes! The veils only had slits at waist-level for a hand to slip out and grab or dispense items as required, but anything can happen under those outfits! A camera can be snapping at crucial areas even I may ignore, or this type of clothing can disguise a weapon which can be held for delayed usage – were they inspected by a female Officer? Yet complaints were made about my camera which I had in the open?

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3 Responses

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  1. Let me also state that when I visited two US warships, they said when and where you can take pics, they made no bones – you knew BEFORE you went on board! If an event however says no cameras, then usually I won’t bother to attend since if I cannot make my own souvenir then I won’t bother to grace my presence to the place or thing in question!

  2. It’s unlikely the persons were of “Middle Eastern” descent; most “Islamic” persons are not and in Barbados they are usually of South Asian, mainly Indian, origin.

    Having said that, I am uncomfortable with your generalization of all Muslims as being terrorists and hence security threats. I don’t know if your problem with those persons was because they were Muslim or if you were transferring your discontent towards the reaction to your camera and having to wait to enter. I can’t see how you’d snap secret photos with an abaya and niqab (the names for the garments you describe) and there’s just as much chance of hiding weapons on normal clothes as they are in these. Most likely scenario, this was just a family making use of a tour open to public and to which they are entitled to participate.

  3. I never said they were terrorists or potential to be so – hinted at but no further, nevertheless, which is more of a security risk? A man with a camera openly on his hip or an outfit designed to reveal almost nothing of the person to the point you have to assume or guess their gender?


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