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MARCH 30, 2004

Bahrain gets ready for anything

The Bahrain Ministry of the Interior says that all the necessary security precautions have been taken in preparation for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, which will be the largest sporting event to take place in the Middle East.

The Ministry of the Interior has been coordinating efforts to make absolutely sure that security is as high as possible - without making it too obvious.

"The plan the ministry has includes all aspects of security from low level vandalism to national disasters and international terrorism," said a spokesman. "The help of the National Guard and certain assets of the Bahrain Defence Force have been brought in to provide a comprehensive and robust national security plan."

The measures are believed to include having members of the National Guard protecting facilities at the circuit and outside; quick reaction teams on call 24 hours a day at a variety of locations in Bahrain; a quadrupling of the patrols around the kingdom and a comprehensive traffic plan to keep congestion to a minimum.

"The Kingdom of Bahrain takes the issue of national security as a matter of paramount importance and visitors to the kingdom should rest assured that their well-being is being cared for from the moment that they arrive on the island," said the spokeman. "Hosting the first Grand Prix in the Middle East is of special importance to the people of Bahrain. We want everyone who visits the kingdom to enjoy their stay with us and to understand that the security plans will be as unobtrusive as possible."

It is believed that most of the F1 teams are taking their own security measures as well.