Suggestion for regional customs and immigration agencies to join forces

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The Director General of the Montserrat Customs and Revenue Service & Regional Chair of the Caricom Customs Grouping, Peter W A White, has supported the recommendation by Antigua & Barbuda’s Chief Immigration Officer to have an integrated border security and control authority.

During a press conference ahead of the 18th meeting of the 15 Caricom States and the five Member States Chiefs of Immigration and the Comptrollers of Customs (CICC), Chief Immigration Officer and Chair of the Immigration Customs Grouping, Annette Mark said she has “a dream of seeing within the region, customs and immigration under one head, fighting criminal activities at the border”.

In support of the call, White said, “We are recommending it very strongly to our regional colleagues”, adding that the idea is to control the undesirables coming into Caricom countries.

He said that Montserrat piloted this project almost three years ago, and added that the initiative brings together immigration operational officers and customs operational officers into a unit called the Integrated Border Security Unit.

“What it means for the travelling public is that when you come to our airport or our ferry port, the officers who are dealing with you can attend to you as both an immigration officer and a customs officer,” he told OBSERVER media.

White compared the initiative to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Border Force in the United Kingdom.

He said the move has been very successful “because it calls for the sharing of information and everybody has access to the same information as it relates to immigration and customs”.

White believes that such a co-ordinated approach is what is needed to stop illegal items or prohibited persons from entering the Caribbean.

More in today’s Daily Observer

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