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
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
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
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.