Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fom David Anderson–News from Tanzania: Security Goes Tight Around the White Sands Special Compound

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 4:59 pm

Dar Es Salaam—As reported late yesterday by some media, the security level around the White Sands Resort, where the Anglican Primates’ Meeting is being held this week, has increased rapidly as the resort prepares for the arrival of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. One reporter from the London Telegraph called the security around the conference center a “ring of steel.” Well, almost. Whether any of the additional levels of security are because of the presence of the controversial presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, is hard to tell, because other well-known primates of the Anglican Communion are also present.

One entire end of the large resort has been sectioned off into a compound where the rooms are numbered in the 100s. Poor planning by some of the conference arrangers resulted in some of the rooms within the block having been already rented by others staying at the resort, but one presumes that they will have been moved out as the security lines went up. The rest of the news and advocacy community are within the resort, but in slightly less posh accommodations and a bit of a walk from the security lines.

The second and lesser entrance has been closed except to official Anglican Primates’ Meeting traffic, and the guards make it clear that without a red security badge from the Anglican Communion Office, you cannot get in through that gate. At the other end of the compound, bordering on the main resort offices, desks have been set up and special guards are positioned together with a supervisor. No red badge, no entrance, no excuses. Several of the media people in attendance have already tested the resolve of the guards and believe that no one will be slipping in uninvited. Bring out the telephoto lenses!

Many of the primates who arrived early are still housed in the Beachcomber Resort next door but are scheduled to move over Wednesday morning to their accommodations in the White Sands. They will leave behind a comforting cross mounted behind glass in a picture frame hung on the wall in the hallway leading to the rooms. The picture says, “In Case of Spiritual Crisis, Break Glass.” One wonders that no one has availed themselves yet and broken the glass—but then, the Primates’ Meeting isn’t nearly over yet. In fact, it only officially begins tomorrow.

A picture may be found here.


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