Fitzgerald Hinds MP - Minister of National Security (centre), is flanked by Bo Shakira Harris - Associate Program Management Officer, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Regional Coordinator for the Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) (right); and Tonya Ayow - Director at CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) (left), during a meeting on Border Security at the Ministry of National Security, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain on Thursday November 11, 2021. (Image courtesy Ministry of National Security)

A renewed commitment to the strengthening of Trinidad and Tobago’s border security framework, following discussions between the Minister of National Security, and representatives from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

An official statement from the Ministry reports that on Thursday November 11th, the Minister Fitzgerald Hinds MP met with Bo Shakira Harris, Associate Program Management Officer, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Regional Coordinator for the Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP).

According to the Ministry’s release, 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.

The UNODC/AIRCOP representative, Bo Shakira Harris, reported to Minister Hinds that from its inception to the present, AIRCOP has produced tangible results, which the UNODC hopes to replicate in Trinidad and Tobago.

Minister Hinds restated T&T’s commitment to ensuring that the necessary administrative and legal provisions are in place to facilitate the project’s success, given its importance to this country’s safety and security.

Ms Harris also stated she welcomed the opportunity to establish and build upon existing relationships with law enforcement officials in other regions of the world, through inter-regional training and the shared use of intelligence platforms.

Also attending the meeting were: Richard Lynch, Deputy Director of the International Affairs Unit, Ministry of National Security; Tonya Ayow, Director at the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS); Renee Adimoolah, International Affairs Coordinator; and Lt. Col. Michael Jones, Executive Director of IMPACS, who participated virtually.