Skip navigation

Officials Attend CARICOM Meeting

DOI and Customs leaders attended CARICOM meeting to discuss advancements in border security.

Published 28th November 2017, 3:54pm

Leaders with the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration and Customs Department recently attended a CARICOM meeting in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss strategic and risk management approaches to border security.

The Cayman Islands delegation included Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith, Acting Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Tamara Reid-Vernon, Deputy Collector of Customs (Border Control) Jeff Jackson, Assistant Collector of Customs (Border Control) Phillip West and Senior Customs Officer Newton Powery.

On Tuesday, 21 November 2017 the Special Meeting of the CARICOM Standing Committees of Chiefs of Immigration and Comptrollers of Customs was convened for officials from the region to discuss the implementation of the Advance Cargo Information System (ACIS) and the expansion of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS).

Both the ACIS and APIS involve the transmission of manifest information from carriers to local border security authorities ahead of an airline’s or marine vessel’s arrival or departure.

“Co-operation, particularly in relation to intelligence exchange, is extremely important,” Mr. Smith states. “It’s now well recognised that enforcement success by immigration and customs relies much more on carefully targeted efforts based on high quality intelligence than it does on random or systematic action.”

Both departments are tasked with tackling risks and threats related to the movement of potential terrorists, drug traffickers, deportees, prohibited immigrants, as well as drugs, weapons and illicit goods.

“The key is to ensure that border control resources can be directed toward those areas where they are most likely to produce significant results in the interest of security and public safety,” Mr. Jackson explains. “ACIS and APIS are excellent tools in that regard.”

The Cayman Islands currently leverages APIS for airline departures, which is why passengers no longer have to clear immigration when leaving the country.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration (MHRI) is currently leading a number of projects to strengthen and modernise border security, including the full implementation of APIS.

The Ministry is also working closely with regional intelligence partners to provide the Cayman Islands’ border control authorities with greater capacity to assess a passenger’s risk profile and potential threat level.

“From a border protection standpoint, our primary goal is to help safeguard Cayman’s reputation as a safe, secure, and attractive jurisdiction for recreation, residency, and business,” Deputy Chief Officer for MHRI (Security and Public Safety) Michael Ebanks concludes. “To that end we’ll continue to strengthen international relations and local law enforcement collaboration.”