BVI-US LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO DETER TRANSNATIONAL CRIME
Thursday July 19, 2012
Following yesterday’s discussions of the USVI Executive Committee of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) programme, law enforcement agencies in the Virgin Islands are better equipped to protect the Territory’s borders from transnational crime.
The HIDTA programme was established to reduce drug trafficking through the enhancement and coordination of drug control efforts among law enforcement agencies.
HIDTA’s USVI Executive committee includes agencies from the Puerto Rico/ United States Virgin Islands HIDTA and the British Virgin Islands. Yesterday’s discussions focused on the participating agencies’ work in pursuing HIDTA initiatives that include strategies, concerns and situational analyses in relation to the fight against drug trafficking and transnational crime.
In an interview with the Department of Information and Public Relations, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE said he continues to welcome the hosting of the meeting and further encouraged the Territory’s law enforcement agencies to continue strengthening its border protection capacity.
In commending HIDTA for its continued diligence in this border protection, Honourable Smith said, “Crime is a deterrent to economic growth and threat to citizens and visitors alike. With an ever changing world, it is important for agencies, both local and international, to pool resources and share best practices in the fight against transnational crimes.”
Premier Smith said, “Government has recognised the challenges law enforcement agencies are faced with, and will ensure that the proper modernised legislative framework is in place to protect the community.”
He added, “We are committed to ensuring that our agencies receive high level law enforcement training to better equip officers for the challenges that lie ahead, as we all know these perpetrators of these transnational crimes are very ingenious in their methods of concealment and deception.”
Speaking to the benefits of the Territory’s participation with HIDTA, Premier Smith further added, “The collaborative roles and functions of this organisation will enable us to sleep comfortably at night and in general, create a safer environment for all.”
At HIDTA’s opening ceremony yesterday, Commissioner of Customs Mr. Wade Smith said the organisation has been very instrumental in providing training opportunities to HM Customs officers. He commended Deputy Commissioner of Customs and outgoing Chair of HIDTA Executive Committee Mr. Dean Fahie for a job well done.
In a separate interview with the Department of Information and Public Relations, Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Mr. Guy Hill whose organisation is also a part of HIDTA said they continue to benefit from the training provided and he thanks and looks forward to the continued support.
The 6th annual HIDTA meeting was held at the Moorings conference room. It was attended by 19 law enforcement agencies from the Virgin Islands, United States (US) including the US Virgin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico. Agencies include BVI Immigration Department, Her Majesty’s Customs, Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, US Border Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service and the VI Department of Justice.
The PR/USVI HIDTA meeting is in line with the Government of the Virgin Islands’ vision to ensure safe and secure communities throughout the Territory, and in turn improve the quality of life for all.