Caribbean Border Security Enforcement

July 14, 2017 North America , OPINION/NEWS , Security


Ricardo Swire


The Caribbean is an internationally renowned tourism market, tropical islands each with official entry and exit points.

In February 2007 America’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agency provided access to its Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) and regional border security was modernized. Today CARICOM border protection officials utilize a modified electronic APIS (e-APIS) version that enable users to securely submit information.

Special internal security officials and Customs Officers at formal entry and exit points in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago scrutinize pre-arrival and departure manifest data. Biographical for all arriving passengers and crew members from CARICOM, United Kingdom (UK), America and Canada is part of the requirement.

In 2015 the Bahamas signed on to APIS membership that meant the mini constellation of islands agreed to submit complete crew and passenger lists together with carrier specifications to CARICOM’s Joint Regional Communications Center (JRCC) in Barbados. Such information is needed prior to arrival of an aircraft or ship at individual CARICOM ports of entry and exit. The JRCC is responsible for receiving, analyzing and disseminating airline passenger information. The facility also assist CARICOM’s intelligence, law enforcement and border security agencies.

On May 24, 2017 Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI) joined the APIS data exchange, action that connected the US island chain to CARICOM and six associate British Overseas Territories (BOTs). General submission of “Private Aircraft” APIS arrival data should be completed no later than thirty minutes prior to departure for a CARICOM destination. Departures to airports within or outside CARICOM must be filed no later than thirty minutes before leaving each territory.

Commercial Aircraft’s APIS data must be submitted no later than fifteen minutes after departure for a CARICOM member state. The plane’s exit info offered no later than fifteen minutes after ascent from either CARICOM or foreign airports. On Saturday July 8, 2017 a forty-nine year old male Chinese traveller tested CARICOM’s border protection efficiency when he presented a St Kitts & Nevis passport. His entry and type of travel document triggered an APIS alert.

The St Kitts & Nevis passport holder departed Canada aboard WestJet flight WS2738, from Pearson International Airport (coded YYZ) in Toronto. He transited Antigua’s VC Bird International Airport (coded ANU) and onward to Robert L Bradshaw International Airport on St Kitts & Nevis. The Chinese St Kitts & Nevis passport holder’s name features on law enforcement’s most wanted list, for the conjuring of fraudulent bank loans and embezzlement worth US20 million. His American travel visa was revoked and replacement denied.

The APIS contributes significantly to regional internal security’s ability to monitor human traffic moving across Caribbean air bridges. Maritime approaches remain the Islands’ internal security challenge. Recreational mariners consider the Caribbean “a single cruising area with a dozen national borders.” Diverse types of watercraft and categories of operation complicate e-APIS standardization of a compatible declaration document. Unlike commercial airlines or cruise ships a yacht’s precise arrival time at port is hard to predict, available communications equipment limited.

While mega-yachts are usually equipped with high speed internet connections, the average private yacht is dependent on shore-side internet cafés or anchorage Wi-Fi. Technological deficiencies that make e-APIS data compliance difficult. The “weather window” or winds, currents, tides and sea state affect projected arrival times. Navigating northward in the Grenadines or Tobago Cays carry possibilities of meeting strengthened gale force northerly Tradewinds. Upon arrival in the Caribbean single page Customs and Immigration clearance forms, issued by Grenada and St Vincent & the Grenadines, are part of hassle free docking facilities.




Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.


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