ST THOMAS, US Virgin Islands – Caribbean police chiefs were today urged by the head of INTERPOL to remain pioneers in security by becoming the first region in the world to both use INTERPOL's network to screen the passports of all visitors, and assure itself of the fastest response from INTERPOL by granting special visa status to INTERPOL travel document holders.
Addressing the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP), INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said it was the Caribbean’s pioneering spirit that in 2007 saw the region become the first in the world to revolutionize border security management through mass screening of international travelers against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database.
As part of its wider assistance to the Caribbean region's security provisions for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, INTERPOL also deployed a Major Event Support Team comprising INTERPOL staff of many nationalities to the 10 host countries.
That historic joint endeavour with the Caribbean made it the natural choice to become the first region to officially grant INTERPOL travel document holders special visa status.
“Our vision is that of a world where officials traveling on behalf of INTERPOL at the request of our member countries can do so faster and more effectively than the criminals we seek to counter,” said the head of INTERPOL.
“When assisting in the aftermath of any major crisis, whether criminal or natural disaster, it is vital that there are as few obstacles as possible to swift international police collaboration.
“According the INTERPOL travel document special visa waiver status will significantly contribute to more effective INTERPOL support on the ground when required and requested by any member country,” concluded Secretary General Noble.
The head of the world’s largest police organization said that regional backing for INTERPOL’s support and tools provided clear long term benefits, as demonstrated by the extension of regional access to the STLD database for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
In January 2010, border control officials in Trinidad and Tobago with access to INTERPOL’s database were able to intercept five passengers traveling on Swedish passports which had been stolen in Venezuela. Among the five individuals was a person wanted by the Netherlands on human trafficking charges.
Secretary General Noble said that by supporting the INTERPOL travel document, the leaders of the Caribbean police services could once again lead the world in taking groundbreaking steps in international police co-operation.
The INTERPOL chief’s remarks in the US Virgin Islands came at the end of his two-week mission to the Caribbean, meeting leaders and senior police officials from the Bahamas, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada and St Vincent and Grenadines.