Above: the signing ceremony (BIS Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Bahamas and the United States have officially signed a memorandum of understanding for pre-clearance operations of the US’ Transportation Security Administration.
The agreement formalizes the terms and conditions under which the two governments will engage in cooperation on civil aviation issues, including the establishment of screening standards “comparable to those implemented in airports [in the United States,” according to Bahamian Foreign Minister Frederick Mitchell.
“These efforts will not only facilitate smooth operations of travel between Bahamian pre-clearance airports and American airpots — particularly for passengers on transit flight — but will also enhance security capacity for passengers, employees and other stakeholders involved in [the] airport transportation industry,” Mitchell said.
That will “directly mitigate against current challenges as it relates to aviation between our two countries,” he said.
The Bahamas is one of just five countries worldwide that enjoys US pre-clearance privileges, having done so since 1974.
Mitchell said the Bahamas was the first country in the Western Hemisphere to sign an agreement of this kind with the US.
“With tourism being the primary industry in our country, the experience of our visitors also includes travel to and from their destination,” he said. “This is another way in which we are able to maintain our commitment to security, while at the same time allowing the visitor to be processed as efficiently and comfortably as possible.”