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Barbados signs AIRCOP agreement


Barbados signs AIRCOP agreement

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BARBADOS IS NOW better equipped to fight transnational organised crime and boost its drug interdiction capacities, particularly at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL Airport Communications Project (AIRCOP) by Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, and AIRCOP Project Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean, Sergio Naranjo.

Speaking during the signing ceremony at his office yesterday, Mr. Brathwaite said the island’s Customs and Immigration Departments and the Royal Barbados Police Force had also readily embraced the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Customs Organization (WCO) and INTERPOL project, recognising it would better equip them to do their jobs more effectively.

“The emphasis of a better coordinated response with all the agencies is one of the things I think we needed to do in any event,” the Attorney General submitted, while thanking the stakeholders for coming on board with Barbados.

Naranjo noted that Barbados was the third country in the Caribbean to sign the agreement, which was significant as the island was a hub for managing information.

Meanwhile, Ambassador to the European Union, Mikael Barfod, said the European Union was aware that organised crime was one of the most dangerous threats to societies, which also had repercussions for terrorism and the security of citizens.

“The European Union has a plethora of tools that can help to fight crime and drug trafficking. That includes our peace and stability instrument for €71 million. We are also very pleased that we have the support of the Cocaine Programme, which has moved across three continents from West Africa, to Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean,” he noted.

Barfod added that the signing of the AIRCOP project meant Barbados now joined 26 countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean to do so.  “We are opening up a new chapter and I really look forward to the creation of the Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force at the Grantley Adams International Airport,” he stated.

Thirty national law enforcement officials from the Customs and Excise Department, the Immigration Department and the Royal Barbados Police Force are expected to receive AIRCOP specialised training, which would be led by experts from the United Kingdom Border Force and WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office in St. Lucia.

AIRCOP is a multi-agency, anti-trafficking initiative which strengthens the detection, interdiction and investigative capacities of law enforcement officials at participating airports.

Its overall objective is to build drug interdiction capacities at selected international airports in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean through the training and establishment of Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces. These are then connected to international law enforcement databases and communication networks provided by INTERPOL and WCO, to encourage real-time transmission of operational information to international airports to intercept illicit shipments.  (BGIS)