Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr Jerome Walcott and INTERPOL’s, Executive Director of Police Services, Stephen Kavanagh, make it official at the Agreement Signing Ceremony held at the Ministry’s headquarters. (BGIS/C.Pitt)

After several years of consultation, an International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) Caribbean Liaison Office, the first within the region, will be established here in Barbados.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr Jerome Walcott, made the disclosure, during an Agreement Signing Ceremony with INTERPOL’s, Executive Director of Police Services, Stephen Kavanagh, at the Ministry’s headquarters, this morning.

During the signing ceremony, Minister Walcott noted: “The Barbados Liaison Office for the Caribbean region represents a commitment made by INTERPOL in 2013.  The Agreement we will sign represents the commitments and responsibilities of the Government of Barbados and the INTERPOL for the efficient and effective operation of this regional liaison office, which we are thankful to host here in Bridgetown.”

He continued: “This office, which will serve Barbados and the Caribbean region, will complement INTERPOL’S Liaison Offices in Thailand and Austria.  The INTERPOL Liaison Office will collaborate closely with CARICOM IMPACS in support of law enforcement investigations, border management operations, screening of travel documents and will see the training of regional security personnel on INTERPOL systems, processes and capabilities.”

Minister Walcott also noted that the Liaison Office would also support member countries, by expanding their access to INTERPOL’s databases and increased data sharing.  He added that there would be increased opportunities to use INTERPOL to improve policing capabilities and develop training and capacity building in different areas of crime.

Mr. Kavanagh, speaking on the effectiveness of establishing the Caribbean Liaison Office, especially at this time, pointed out: “Crime is changing dramatically, and what we see now from a global perspective is that whether it’s trafficking human beings, firearms, drugs; whether it’s peddling child abuse imagery; criminals are now using and abusing geographical boundaries and jurisdictional boundaries.

“And what we see is law enforcement and the partners around them are at their strongest when we connect more effectively.  And this isn’t about INTERPOL as a success, it is about the Barbadian government; it’s about the partnerships within Barbados, in the Caribbean, being a success, and our job is to enable others… to stepping up in the way we deal with these crimes.”

INTERPOL’s Liaison Office, when established, will support the 15 CARICOM member states, as well as the five CARICOM Associate Members of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.  The office will also service Aruba, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and Dutch St. Maarten.

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