Call Made For Joint Taskforce To Continue Post-COVID
Chief Immigration Officer Ian Penn said the Joint Agency Taskforce, made up of officers from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the Her Majesty’s Customs and the Immigration Department was effective and should continue past the COVID-19 era.
He was at the time speaking to Claude Skelton Cline during his bi-weekly radio programme on Tuesday, December 1.
“It was formed so we could augment each other in terms of protecting our borders and providing security in the territory as a whole. We worked hand in hand so if there were patrols going on at sea or even on land, it would mean that there was a contingent of Immigration, Customs and Police,” he remarked.
He added, “And, the reason for that is all three agencies have their own laws and therefore if they meet up on a problem at sea or on land, then you have the strength of each one. If it is an immigration matter, you have the immigration officer there, if it is a customs matter, then customs officer would take the lead, if it is a police matter, the police officer would take the lead. So we worked hand in hand together.”
While further pointing to the benefits of the Joint Agency Taskforce, the Immigration boss said: “yes, it is something that I would like to see continue.”
He said due to the territory’s borders reopening to international travel, the Customs and Immigration officers would have to return to their old posts.
“So, therefore, it would mean that we would have to make a pitch to hire more officers or to have more officers and to continue with this Joint Task Force for the territory going forward. I think it would be a very good idea to have this task force in the long haul. I think it worked very well for the time that we had it during the pandemic and it is something that I would like to see continue because it can provide the needed security in the territory on the borders on land and sea,” he remarked.