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Monday, May 16, 2022

Gov’t exploring Bermuda’s model for a local coast guard - Premier

Gov’t exploring Bermuda’s model for a local coast guard - Premier

The government is considering to adopt ‘Bermuda’s model’ of maritime security which would see the BVI having its very own coast guard.
Premier Andrew Fahie gave that indication at a recent press conference.

“That is a future project that we are looking at. I’ve written to the governor so that he can start to help us get the ball rolling along those lines and will continue to push in that area,” the Premier stated.

At the time, he noted that the issue of territorial security and illegal immigration was a keen topic of discussion between the British Overseas Territories at a recent Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) hosted in Glasgow in the United Kingdom.

According to Premier Fahie, illegal immigration is of particular concern to the Turks and Caicos Islands which is small in stature compared to neighbouring Haiti, from where an abundance of illegal immigrants have entered the overseas territory.

“It’s something that the whole Caribbean is experiencing more and more, so it’s going to take a unified front to deal with it. Hence why also that I call for the introduction of a coast guard team — that I’ll be following up with — that has met. I would say [we’ve received] tacit approval from the governor and together he and I will be working towards how we can bring this into fruition so that we can even have an extra layer of our people in the Virgin Islands serving in their own coast guard,” the Premier said.

In his remarks during the press conference, Premier Fahie also spoke of some of the challenges and successes experienced by the security forces in keeping the territory safe.

“This year, there have been a number of successes in foiling major drug runs as well as addressing compromised officers who have hurt the police’s integrity and hampered the force’s ability to fully function,” Premier Fahie said.

Premier Fahie also said his government will continue to support the territory’s Joint Task Force which includes Her Majesty‘s Customs, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the Immigration Department.

During the JMC, the Premier said he reiterated his government’s commitment to the National Security Council and pride in setting up the Joint Task Force that was formed in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the territory’s sea borders.

“I believe that an integrated approach to national security is the best way to address the Virgin Islands security challenges,” Premier Fahie noted.

“We know that security itself under the constitution is one of the governor’s responsibilities but you still have the National Security Council there to help advise, so we still have our role to play. But at the end of the day, security is everyone’s business,” the Premier stated.

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