Earlier this week two brand new state of the art scanners were formally commissioned by the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan at the international airports arrival hall. Aimed to detect prohibited imports such as plants, seeds and even pets the new machines will be used for random checks of arriving passengers’ hand luggage, but where felt appropriate also for checked bags. Already are sniffer dogs deployed at the arrival hall checking out arriving luggage for illicit content, as the country’s government’s anti-drug policies take wider hold and even greater efforts are now being made to stop the flow of drugs into the country through the airport.
A regular source from the islands tourism industry had this to say when discussing the development by mail: When tourists come here they need no Visa at all, just a return ticket, a confirmed hotel booking and enough spending money, and in case they come from Africa a yellow fever inoculation certificate. That is all. But making it easy for our guests to come here does not mean we do not uphold our laws and regulations. We have some problems on the island through alien species of plants, insects and even animal species brought here under disguise in the past. We as Seychelles are committed to maintain our biodiversity, protect our immaculate beaches and flora and fauna and for that we need measures. Measures to detect illegal importation of seeds etc. Security at the airport is taking place in many shapes, aviation security to prevent any incidents on board the aircraft, and general security to protect our pristine environment too. Like before, when visitors enter through the green customs channel, suggesting they have nothing to declare which exceeds legal limits or permitted items, there is always a random check element. Now we are making this more sophisticated with scanners and again passengers will be selected at random. That is all there is to it.
The two scanners were given to the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority through a grant worth nearly half a million US Dollars by the Global Environment Facility, in short GEF, which has responded to a request to facilitate better entry point checking for alien species to protect the archipelagos environment.