JAMAICA:Government developing border security policy and strategy

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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Courtney Williams, speaking at the opening ceremony for the three-day stakeholder retreat on the Border Security Policy and Strategy.

BROOKLYN, NY – Government is developing a Border Security Policy and Strategy that will protect 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 organized 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 modernize and streamline the legislative framework for the effective implementation of the policy and strategy,” he added.

Williams, who was addressing the opening ceremony for a three-day stakeholder retreat at the AC Hotel by Marriot in St. Andrew on Wednesday, 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.

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

“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,” Williams added.

Meanwhile, he informed that there had 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.

The Permanent Secretary noted that a draft situational analysis and 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.

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

He noted that it would be action-oriented, dynamic, user-friendly, and strategic, covering 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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