Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 06, 2017 (RSCNPF):  “Our role is now that of  the  primary Gate Keeper.  We  have to be ever vigilant,  paying attention to more than just the obvious,” Commissioner of Police Mr. Ian M Queeley told Immigration Officers and officers of Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department at the opening of a one week course in St. Kitts and Nevis focusing on passenger interviewing techniques.

The course is being held under the umbrella of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) under the agreement with the European Union, 10th EDF Programme.

Commissioner Queeley in his Opening Remarks told the attendees, “the world has changed,  and your role as the first impression of  our country have been changed from that solely of  ensuring that that documents are proper and granting time and ensuring that all of the administrative procedures are adhered to.”  He underscored, “September 11,  did not just happen in one day and many of  the terrorist acts we see worldwide  and likewise  many of  the criminal enterprises that operate regionally and globally did not just pop up in a country in one day.  They are systematically developed  over time by exploiting the vulnerabilities in the  county and the insular attitudes that we had as border control organizations and agencies.”

“We must now be vigilant and dig beyond the obvious;  we must now look through the passport to identify trends;   example;  is there frequent travel to known hotspots for various types of  illicit activities,”  the Chief Immigration Officer told the participants…….”You are no longer the greeter and the time granter.  You are now at the “Tip of the Spear” in the defence of  our National Security in this Federation and through collaboration,  and with the use systems like the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) and with the services provided  by agencies such as the Joint Regional Communications Center (JRCC),  we are now collectively the Gate Keepers for the region and join our partners in the wider world, ”  He shared with the group.

Commissioner Queeley challenged the participants to embrace and share the training and said, ” I want you to embrace the training,  share it with you teams and ensure they get it,  and execute it on a day to day basis in their roles as Immigration Officers.”  He  added,  ” I don’t want you to sit here for the week,  get the training and then go back to your home and stay up at nights doubting yourselves if you have what it takes to do the job.   Believe me…..  you do.”  He then encouraged the participants by saying, “What I want you to do,  is go home, share the knowledge with your teams,  and for  all of you to get the rest you need every night so you can be most vigilant at your post and by doing so,  build a reputation  that will keep the potential “illicit” traveler up at night trying to figure how they will get in.”

Commissioner Queeley then reinforced the importance of the Immigration Officer’s role by sharing, “Stay focused,  remember you are at the “Tip of  Spear” in  Border Security and  the safety of  our  Nations.”

Remarks were also presented  the Asst. Comptroller of Customs Mr. Kennedy DeSilva, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty and the Featured Address was delivered by the Attorney General, the Honourable Vincent Byron Jr.