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Story Highlights

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Jennifer McDonald, says the country’s Immigration Officers must be alert at all times, to detect persons with ill intent entering the country.
  • Ms. McDonald said the officers also have a “wonderful opportunity” to interact with persons from all over the world, and the training they received, which included customer service, will help them in trying times, and with difficult persons.
  • PICA’s mission is to keep Jamaica secure through border management, and facilitating travellers crossing the country’s border.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Jennifer McDonald, says the country’s Immigration Officers must be alert at all times, to detect persons with ill intent entering the country.

She said with terrorism now a global concern, border security and the role of immigration officers are of the utmost importance at this time.

“As guardians of the nation’s borders, we have to be alert and intuitive to any signs of perforation in the safety and security of our borders,” Ms. McDonald  told a recent graduation ceremony for Immigration Officers,  held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in New Kingston.

The CEO told the new officers that the profession needs persons of the highest integrity, and before they act, they should consider the consequences for themselves and their country.

“If we as a nation are to employ effective counter-terrorism strategies, then we need to be able to rely on persons of sound integrity. Ensure that you exercise your duties, not only as Immigration Officers, but also as good ambassadors. It is an important balance that we need to strike, especially in a country which is heavily dependent on tourism,” she urged.

Ms. McDonald said the officers also have a “wonderful opportunity” to interact with persons from all over the world, and the training they received, which included customer service, will help them in trying times, and with difficult persons.

“At times you will need to call on your skill of diplomacy as you interact with varying personalities,” she told the 39 new Officers, 23 of whom are assigned to the Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay, and 16  to the Norman Manley International Airport, in Kingston.

PICA’s mission is to  keep Jamaica secure through border management, and facilitating travellers crossing the country’s border. The agency strives to make “fair and reasonable decisions for people entering the country, ensuring compliance with Jamaica’s immigration laws, and integrity in decision-making.”