OECS Secretariat, Castries, St. Lucia, April 1st 2014 OECS – OECS Border Control Officers have just ended deliberations on Watch-listing of Subjects of Interest at a Training workshop aimed at strengthening the region’s border security operations. Watch-listing is a system used by law enforcement agencies for monitoring and tracking the movement of subjects of interest, criminals or persons who are considered a threat to national security when traversing into and out of a member state.
A major aspect of the training was the use of the CARICOM Interactive Border Security (CARIBSEC) System. CARIBSEC is a technological tool used for watch-listing subjects of interest. This web-based applicationisused by Customs, Immigration, and Police departments in the region. Specialists also describe it as an inconspicuous intelligence system that facilitates passive detection and tracking of persons of interest. The CARIBSEC watch-list application is developed to give Member States the capability to enter and maintain their own data without third party involvement.
Given that the data on usage of the CARICOM CARIBSECS clearly demonstrates that OECS Member States are not making optimal use of the system, the value of the system was underscored and participants were urged to use it more effectively.
All the participants who work in the intelligent/enforcement Units in their respective Member States deemed the training to be very useful as they were actively engaged in the discussions aimed at enhancing their operations.
Currently,whileall independent OECS Member States have access to the system, it has remaineddormant for years in most countries, due to irregularity of updates. Therefore given participants’ interest and desire to have access to CARIBSECS, it was agreed that the JRCC will write to Heads of Departments to seek formal authorization to grant participants individual access to the system.
Representatives of the OECS Secretariat and the JRCC underscored the importance of collecting and sharing data, especially in the context of the OECS Economic Union which promotes the principle of free movement of persons. Data sharing is also of critical importance to facilitate ease of travel for tourists visiting the region.
Training was facilitated by the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC), based in Barbados. The JRCC is a sub-agency of IMPACS, an institution of CARICOM dedicated to enhancing the individual and collective law enforcement and border security capacity of CARICOM Member States which analyses and disseminates passenger information to support border security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies LEAs.
Participants comprised Immigration Officers from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica and Grenada, and Customs Officers from Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda & St. Vincent & the Grenadines respectively.
The seminar held in Barbados on March 26th 2014 was funded by the the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Economic Integration and Trade of the OECS Region.