Updated Agreement for Police and Customs Officers in 30 Days

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Police and Customs Officers will have an updated Agreement for Cooperation and Partnership within the next 30 days. This is designed to improve the working relationship between the two entities.

This assurance has come from Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, following lengthy discussions with acting Comptroller of Customs, Annette Weekes, acting Commissioner of Police, Tyrone Griffith, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Attorney General, Diane Campbell, acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Nancy Headley, and other senior officials from the Customs Department last Tuesday.

The discussions were convened following recent incidents involving customs and police officers at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA). The focus of the talks was on ensuring that the impediments to a harmonious working relationship between the two agencies were removed.

???We discussed a Memorandum of Understanding which dates back to 1997 between the two entities, and it was agreed that we would work towards having an updated Agreement for Cooperation and Partnership within the next 30 days,??? Mr. Brathwaite said.

Completion of this new agreement, he added, would be followed by training, to be facilitated by the individual departments, as well as joint training sessions as deemed necessary. This is to ensure that the officers, who are central to protecting Barbados??? ports of entry from illegal activity, understand each other???s respective roles and responsibilities, and work towards improving and enhancing that working relationship.

Mr. Brathwaite reaffirmed the commitment of the Office of the Attorney General to working with the Customs and Excise Department, the Royal Barbados Police Force, the GAIA, and other entities as required.

The Attorney General expressed his regret at the two incidents which occurred at the airport, which has led to some tension between some of the staff of these organisations, but stressed ???the outstanding work of the officers of the Customs and Excise Department and the Royal Barbados Police Force is noted, [and] appreciated???.

julie.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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