JIS News

The Government is developing a Border Security Policy and Strategy that will secure the country against various threats, including the illegal movement of weapons, drugs, and contraband, while promoting lawful commence.

“This policy represents a key priority of the Government to disrupt the drugs-for-guns trade as well as the food-for-guns trade and to bolster our own capacity as a country to fight transnational organised crime and these criminal networks,” said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Courtney Williams.

He noted that the policy also seeks to provide a more cohesive approach to responding to risks to trade and commerce, the blue economy and public health emergencies of international concern.

It further serves to improve cross-sectoral cooperation among key regional and international stakeholders, the Permanent Secretary said.

“It will seek to enhance border intelligence-gathering capabilities, data sharing, risk assessment and the development of responsive security protocols. The policy will also seek to promote coherence and cohesiveness in border security and to modernise and streamline the legislative framework for the effective implementation of the policy and strategy,” he added.

The Permanent Secretary, who was addressing the opening ceremony for a three-day stakeholder retreat at the AC Hotel by Marriot in St. Andrew on September 8, thanked the various stakeholders who have been contributing to the development of the policy and strategy, as well as the United Kingdom (UK) Government for its partnership and support in the undertaking.

Mr. Williams said the development of the policy and strategy is closely aligned with similar initiatives being supported by regional and international partners, including the Seaport Cooperation Project, the Airport Communication Project, and the multi-country border security programme.

“This policy that we are developing aligns with other key initiatives being undertaken by the Government, including the Vision 2030 National Development Plan and the Economic Growth Council’s five in four,” he added.

Meanwhile, he informed that there has been much progress since the inception of the policy development process.

“There have been four subcommittee meetings, which have been held at regular intervals. There have been focus-group discussions as well as one-on-one interviews to identify the key issues and to work out possible solutions,” he reported.

He noted that a draft situational analysis and draft national border security policy and strategy have also been produced.

“While I commend you for the efforts, so far, I must also encourage you to keep pressing ahead, determined to complete the remaining tasks. So, a lot has been done, but a lot more still needs to be done and we can’t be side-tracked,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer, Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Andrew Wynter, in his remarks, said that the policy will guide agencies and organisations that are integral to the border security architecture.

He noted that it will be action-oriented, dynamic, user-friendly, and strategic in nature, covering both local and international legal issues.

“This policy that we are developing… must be that document which shows the balance between border security and economic activities,” he said.

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