Immigration ministers from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have given the green light for a study to explore options for enhancing Border Management Systems interoperability to allow for greater sharing of passenger information across the nine-member sub-regional grouping.
A statement issued by the St Lucia-based OECS Commission said that the authorisation for the study was given during the inaugural meeting of the Council of Ministers of Immigration held last week and chaired by Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Immigration, EP Chet Greene.
The statement said that the ministers noted the importance of this study to the operationalisation of the OECS Single Domestic Space (SDS) and moreover to the implementation of a multi-destination tourism marketing strategy in the OECS
It said the meeting afforded an opportunity for the ministers to be updated on the SDS, noting that the Revised Treaty of Basseterre (RTB) which established the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union (ECEU) allows for unfettered movement of resources including persons, labour, capital, service providers, businesses, and goods across the sub-region.
“The OECS Single Domestic Space will improve travel facilitation for the citizens of OECS Protocol Member States and their family members and third-country nationals including visitors. In the main, several actions necessary for the full implementation of the OECS Single Domestic Space were addressed by the Council of Ministers,” the statement said.
It said that among these issues were the implementation of automated systems at the main ports of entry; capacity building for border officials on new and emerging border management threats and the need for enhanced interoperability of the border management systems across the OECS Single Domestic Space.
The OECS Commission statement said that over the last year, the Caribbean Community Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (Caricom IMPACS) has been working directly with several OECS member states towards the development of Online ED Forms.
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