Immigration, Customs officials begin border-security training

Kaieteur News
January 23, 2007

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Immigration and Customs Officers have begun training in several pertinent areas to recognise illegal activities that may affect Guyana 's security arrangements as the country prepares to host Cricket World Cup beginning in March.

Over the next few days, 12 officers will undergo training on the mechanics of the advance passenger information system, trafficking in persons and smuggling and CARICOM visa arrangement among several other issues that may arise as a result of visitors' influx.

Acting Commissioner of Customs and Trade Administration, Ms Ingrid Griffith urged the participants to be extra vigilant in order to curb illegal activities.

“Border security is everyone's business and we should try to enhance our borders because there will be unwanted elements that you will have to focus on,” Griffith said.

Immigration and Customs officials must have a common understanding of what is expected of them in order for Guyana to successfully secure its borders during the CWC matches, Deputy Chief Immigration Officer George Vyphius said.

“Do not take this training lightly. We must talk, sleep, everything we set out to do must be related to CWC…from February 1, the host countries for CWC will become a single space and in order for Guyana to be part of this space we must be security- ready,” Vyphius said. Chief Executive Officer of the Local Organising Committee for CWC, Karan Singh urged Immigration officers to extend courtesy to all visitors expected for CWC, beginning March 28. On December 18, Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Slowe had indicated that Guyana , among other host countries, will be receiving assistance for border security from the International Security Assistance Group (ISAG), set up by CARICOM.

A CARICOM Resource Mobilisation Committee on cricket headed by Minister of National Security in Jamaica , Dr. Peter Phillips, is coordinating with a UK-based team which has gained valuable experience from the Athens Olympics. Together they are expected to approach the international community for assistance for foreign engagements in the Region for CWC 2007.

Guyana will also be seeking help to form disposal units for the Hazmat arrangements. These are hazardous radiological, biological or chemical substances.