Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 07, 2017 (SKNIS): National security officials in St. Kitts and Nevis have welcomed a four-day training being held to enhance the effectiveness of border security officers.
Officers from Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department and the Immigration Department are learning enhanced methods of passenger interdiction, and advanced interviewing and interrogation techniques at a June 06 to 09 workshop at a training facility in Bird Rock.
Commissioner of Police and Chief Immigration Officer, Ian Queeley, reminded the 30 workshop participants that their role as border protection officers changed forever in September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four planes in the United States and used them as weapons.
“You are no longer the time granter,” he said, referring to the duties of the immigration officer of reviewing travel documents at ports of entry and granting a period of stay. “You are the tip of the spear in the defense of our national security.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty, highlighted the challenges of gun-related crime that are prevalent in many Caribbean countries, citing statistics that indicate that 70 percent of homicides in the region involve the use of a firearm. He added that St. Kitts and Nevis does not manufacture guns and it is illegal to import or carry a weapon without the appropriate licenses. However, the security forces have seized 23 illegal firearms to date and there have been a number of crimes including homicides involving guns.
“I say this to point out that not only must we train our border security officers but we must have very stringent recruitment measures to select good and trustworthy border security officers as well as have in place effective mechanisms for continuous monitoring of the activities of our border security officers,” Mr. Petty stated. “Crime has no sovereignty. We have to work together to defend ourselves from regional and international threats. Through activities such as this workshop we share expertise and equip each other to meet whatever challenges the enemy may present to us.”
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Honourable Vincent Byron Jr., echoed Mr. Petty’s sentiments and noted that detection techniques must surpass the actions of criminals seeking to deceive border enforcement agents. He welcomed the training, which will enhance the ability of officers to identify the behavioural traits of illicit actors, and to effectively engage them during additional security screenings.
Attorney General Byron went on to thank the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) for organizing the training which is being funded under the 10th EDF of the European Union.