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  • The National Security Service of Sint Maarten (Saint Martin) and CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), on November 26, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the use of Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS).
  • APIS is an information sharing system that provides data on passenger movements across borders for air and sea vessels, thus augmenting a country’s ability to monitor and protect its borders.
  • The system benefits from the involvement of compliant countries and carriers across the world, providing increasingly comprehensive passenger data.

The National Security Service of Sint Maarten (Saint Martin) and CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), on November 26, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the use of Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS).

APIS is an information sharing system that provides data on passenger movements across borders for air and sea vessels, thus augmenting a country’s ability to monitor and protect its borders. The system benefits from the involvement of compliant countries and carriers across the world, providing increasingly comprehensive passenger data.

The signing took place at the Ministry of National Security, in Kingston, between the Executive Director of CARICOM IMPACS, Francis Forbes and Acting Head of Sint Maarten’s National Security Services, Jerome Beeldsnjider.

In his remarks, Mr. Beeldsnjider said the agreement will assist in the sharing of information, in a bid to combat organised crime.

“I think the Caribbean has one border together and we are all very small and too small to do it, given the developments in the world of today, but as we join forces together, we will be able to close our gates better together,” he said.

For his part, Mr. Forbes said that under the agreement, intelligence and information will be shared, which will result in greater security for people of the region and visitors alike.

“We recognise that (Sint Maarten) occupies a particular geographic space in this region that is critical to our geographic space. We also recognise that…if you have a big house with several windows and if you leave one window open, your house is not secure and they have felt the same way too,” he said.

Mr. Forbes informed that APIS was implemented as a formal structure to deal with crime and security within the region.

“We have found out, over the years, that the more of our member states who have signed on, and the more of what we call third states/parties who come on board, the greater the opportunities are for us to achieve the highest level of regional security,” he said.

He noted that CARICOM IMPACS is comprised of three working bodies, with its headquarters located in Trinidad and Tobago.

The MoU resulted from a series of consultations between the National Security Service of Sint Maarten and CARICOM IMPACS, as Sint Maarten seeks to strengthen their national security architecture within the context of their newly autonomous status in relation to the Netherlands.

CARICOM IMPACS is a regional organisation created by CARICOM and mandated to implement the regional crime and security agenda, as determined by CARICOM. It was established formally in 2007.

Within the region, Jamaica is the only country whose use of APIS is entrenched in law. National and regional security is expected to benefit considerably as more and more countries in the Caribbean sign on and commit to the use of APIS.

Others present at the function included: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Major General Stewart Saunders; Foreign Services Officer, Kavoy Ashley; and Acting Chief Executive Officer, PICA, Cecil Bailey.