Today the Ministry of Home Affairs began a workshop to educate customs and immigration officers on Passenger Interdiction, specifically Advanced Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques.
It's part of border security training and Immigration Minister of State Beverly Williams told us why the workshop is so important and what different tactics the officers will be learning.
Earl Harris, CARICOM Impacts Assistant Director Strategic Services
"As a region we face several threats, illegal migration, human trafficking, trafficking in illicit arms, light weapons, drugs and we recognize we have a lot of unattended borders and the borders that we do secure we have ensured that the staff have the skills and competencies to recognize the new and emerging threats so we teach them how to profile passengers, how to do threat assessments, best practice in examining and interrogating passengers. The tools and equipment they need to do their jobs more efficiently and at the end of it if nothing else they recognize the need to work together as teams so we are moving away from the CIO type structures where we have as the minister said custom and immigration are co-located at more ports and airports but they are like distant relatives seldom speak to each other so our major focus is getting them to start working together and recognizing that there is strength through information and collaboration sharing."
Hon. Beverly Williams, Minister of State with Responsibility for Immigration and Refugees
"Really it is interrogation techniques and it is customs and immigration normally we all see it co-located so there should be some synergies coming from that and so those located there are the frontline greeters to Belizeans returning home and to visitors and it is very very important for our country at this time because tourism being the second highest foreign exchange earner for Belize you would like to see that continue to grow in its popularity."
The workshop runs for a week and they will combine theory with practical exercises. One of the practical exercises will involve them going to the airport to apply the new skills they learnt.