By Caribbean News Now contributor
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Last week, acting permanent secretary in the ministry of national security, Penelope Bradshaw-Niles welcomed deputy assistant secretary US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, Nancy Izzo Jackson to Trinidad and Tobago, while minister of national security, the Stuart R. Young held a meeting with Bo Shakira Harris, AIRCOP project specialist for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), regional programme office for the Caribbean in Barbados.
Bradshaw-Niles expressed her gratitude for the warm welcome and indicated that the meeting was an opportunity to continue the longstanding positive bilateral relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America.
Both parties discussed the recently concluded two-week migration registration process for Venezuelan nationals in Trinidad and Tobago, which the deputy assistant secretary described as a commendable government initiative and noted the efficient manner in which it was conducted.
Discussions also included matters of mutual interest with both countries committing to work together to ensure the safety and security of Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region.
“The US Department of State”, Bradshaw-Niles said, “Look [ed] forward to the continued working relationship with this country in ongoing bilateral initiatives as well as future security collaboration.”
Meanwhile, minister Young meeting with Harris, was another opportunity for the government of Trinidad and Tobago to further its collaboration with the UNODC on national security issues and more specifically with matters relating to border security.
The AIRCOP is a multi-agency project implemented by UNODC in partnership with INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization (WCO). It aims at strengthening the capacities of international airports to detect and intercept drugs, other illicit goods and high-risk passengers, including foreign terrorist fighters, in origin, transit and destination countries with the overall objective of disrupting criminal networks.
Harris indicated that the increased capacity and knowledge of trained personnel has led to the expansion of the project scope to cover the multiple threats targeting airports, including all illicit drugs, illicit goods, fraudulent documents and as of late, terrorism and trafficking in persons.
Both parties pledging to continue working together, in the interest of strengthening Trinidad and Tobago’s border security framework towards the increased security and safety of [our] citizens.