Interpol praise CWC 2007 security platform
Kaieteur News
May 8, 2007

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The border security mechanisms implemented by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for the hosting of Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 has come in for praise from Interpol, whose Secretary-General, Mr. Ronald Noble has appealed for assistance for the Region to strengthen the systems for the ongoing security of its borders.

Addressing the Unites States Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security last week, Mr. Noble told his audience that what the Caribbean had achieved was nothing short of “amazing:” in terms of the work done to secure its border for hosting the world's third largest sporting event.

He informed that the Region had fully utilised Interpol's global database of Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD), which operates on a twin plank technology platform. In so doing the Region registered 25 hits on stolen or lost passports. The technology used is Mobile Interpol Network Database (MIND) and Fixed Interpol Network Database (FIND) commonly known in the industry as MIND/FIND.

“The results were nothing short of amazing and are worthy of special recognition by the US , indeed by all countries. While the total number of searches in Interpol's SLTD database by the nine host countries amounted to just, 218 searches in all of the years prior to 2007, once the MIND/FIND system was running, the number skyrocketed to 45,000 during the first month of 2007 alone. These searches led to nine hits on passports that were reported stolen or lost. Through to 25 April the Caribbean countries conducted nearly 500,000 searches resulting in 25 hits,” the Interpol Secretary-General informed.

He stressed that the achievement of the Caribbean in this area is even more noteworthy, due to the fact that CWC 2007 was hosted by nine different countries. These countries- Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, along with Dominica, comprised the Single Domestic Space (SDS), which was specifically created for the hosting of CWC 2007.

The multi layered security platform that was implemented by the Caribbean to host CWC, saw the establishment of the Joint Regional Communication Centre (JRCC). This centre utilised a number of watch lists, including Interpol's SLTD database to check every passenger arriving in the Region or traveling throughout the Region by air and sea. CARICOM Heads of Government have already agreed that the JRCC, which is headquartered in Barbados , will remain as a permanent structure. The other agency to remain is the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC).

The importance of the work of the JRCC was recently underscored by Chairperson of the CARICOM Sub-Committee on Security for CWC, the Honourable Mia Mottley, Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados . She has appealed to Interpol for some temporary assistance for the JRCC as the agency beefs up work towards its permanent establishment.

“The Caribbean countries demonstrated the political will, the commitment and the dedication to achieve what most of the world would have thought impossible,” Mr. Noble emphasised.

He added that the Caribbean became the first region in the world to integrate a national and regional border control structure with Interpol's global SLTD database. He emphasised that the Caribbean needed assistance that goes beyond Interpol can offer to continue the programme of border security.

“As has been made clear on a number of occasions, a more secure Caribbean region will lead to a more secure US. While Interpol maybe able to provide temporary assistance to the initiative the US can make the Caribbean 's effort more successful in ways that Interpol could never do on a long term basis. “Doing so would benefit the US , the Caribbean and the entire world's anti-terrorist and anti crime efforts,” Mr. Noble amphasised.

He added that the utilisation of Interpol's SLTD database, as demonstrated by in the case of the Caribbean could go a long way in ensuring security of a country's borders.

“Unless there is a systematic way for countries' law enforcement officers to determine whether passports have been reported stolen, all countries risk that more terrorist and other dangerous criminals will use them to travel the world freely in order to plan and perpetuate deadly attacks,” Mr. Noble added.

He point out that it wasn't only terrorist who utilise stolen passports and that other varieties of dangerous persons regularly use stolen passports to conceal their identity in order to “travel internationally undetected to plan and commit crime and evade justice.”

He informed that in order to tackle the global problem, Interpol's SLTD, which was launched in 2002 and started with 3,000 passports has now reached 14.4 million stolen and lost travel documents from 123 countries. The database comprises 6.7 million passports and 7.7 million of other types of travel documents, including identity cards and visas.