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Security beefed up for CHOGM - Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya

The CHOGM is one of the largest gatherings of Heads of States and security is a key factor for the success of the meeting. The government appointed Security and Accreditation Committee headed by Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya has been entrusted with the task of providing security to the delegates. Providing security to a large foreign delegation is not an easy task. In an interview with the Sunday Observer General Jayasuriya elaborated on the role of the committee.


General Jagath Jayasuriya

Excerpts of the interview :

Q : The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will commence today. You are heading the Security and Accreditation Committee and coordinating the entire transport requirement. Could you elaborate on it?

A : What we do is that when the heads of governments and delegates arrive either at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake or at the Rathmalana Airport we will provide security and transportation as per the plans set up by other related committees. We will provide a Personal Security Officer. The heads of governments are provided with two close protection escorts.

Security arrangements were in place even before the delegates arrived. Intelligence gathering, screening were launched much before and for the past two months we were monitoring and maintaining security. The security personnel searched buildings. Providing security to the surroundings will be done by the military. Security provided to the delegates will be handled by the Police and Presidential and Prime Ministerial Security Divisions. The ground, air and sea security will be provided by the Army, Air Force and the Navy.

The main security network is implemented by the Police. Maintaining roads, traffic controlling will be done by the Police.

Q: How many security personnel will be deployed for security purposes?

A: We have allocated 55 personal security officers and two close protection escorts which consists of one officer and eight other rankers of the commandos for each Head of Government, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth and for Prince Charles. It is the Commonwealth rule that even a representative sent by a head of state should be provided all security.


Patrol cars to escort delegates

Around 15,000 security personnel for close security and for depth security around 40,000 personnel from Police, Army, Navy and Air Force will be deployed.

Q : How did you manage to allocate security personnel?


Army personnel patrol the city

A: We did not have to bring them to Colombo. CHOGM events will take place in Hambanthota, Galle and Kandy. The Committee has allocated security personnel to those areas.

Q : What is the plan for transportation?

A : Transportation is linked to security. Pakistan has provided special cars. For the Heads of Governments 55 Benz cars are ready along with a standby car for each team. The Transport Ministry has recently bought hundred 40 seater luxury buses. There will be 30 Coaster buses.For security purposes we use Land Rovers from our own institutes. The Department of Police received Land Rovers. We have 210 Land Rovers and 166 vans to transport luggage. Trucks and buses will be used for transportation.

Q: The next few days are crucial for security personnel. What are your views?

A: This is a great opportunity for Sri Lanka to showcase its potential. The world must see the true picture with their own eyes rather depending on various sources.

Q : Do you think we still have a threat from terrorism particularly for the CHOGM ?

A : No definitely we do not see terrorism as a threat. But there are anti Sri Lankan elements to disrupt the event.

 

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