Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 21, 2016 (RSCNPF):  The Immigration Department of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force is one of the gatekeepers ensuring a safe and secure St. Kitts and Nevis, said Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ian Queeley, at the opening of a two day workshop for Immigration Officers on Tuesday (July 19).

 To underscore the role of the Immigration Department, the two day training workshop was held under the theme “Roles and Responsibilities of the Immigration Department in Implementing the Obligations of the CSME and OECS Economic Union.”

 According to Inspector Jacqueline Browne, the Head of the Department, “the training was designed to provide first time and refresher training to officers on their roles in ensuring compliance with the various regional treaties.”

 Staffed by a complement of Police Officers and civilians, the Immigration Department has a mandate to ensure border security through the screening of all arriving and departing travelers.  Much of the work is done at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport on St. Kitts and the Vance W. Amory Airport on Nevis. The officers also provide services at the sea ports and marinas.

 Highlighting the work of the Department, Inspector Jacqueline Browne said, “our work in Immigration extends beyond what the public routinely sees… the greeting and processing of our visitors. In addition to our operations at the airports, we are very busy conducting checks on persons whose time granted in the Federation has expired and the processing of these persons when they are discovered.”  The Inspector added, “we routinely check worksites to ensure that no illegal persons are being employed.”

 “Because of employment and other opportunities, St. Kitts and Nevis is a first choice for many Caribbean nationals seeking a way to better themselves,” said Inspector Browne. “We are mindful of that and as a result we screen arriving passengers to ensure they are in and will be compliant with the various regional agreements.”

 Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ian M. Queeley, who gave brief remarks told the Immigration Officers, “your role is a critical one in the security system, you are the gate keepers.” This role has become even more critical with the emerging threats posed by terrorism.

 Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty, in his remarks to the group, spoke to the articles of the various regional treaties with regards to free movement of persons and reminded the officers of our responsibility with regards to the compliance of St. Kitts and Nevis in adherence to the treaties.  He also stressed to the officers, ” we need serious,  vigilant and dedicated Immigration Officers.”

 The training was in partnership with and facilitated by the Ministry of International Trade, Industry and Commerce, with input from personnel from the Ministry of National Security Secretariat,  and included Immigration Officers from both St. Kitts and Nevis.

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