NASSAU, Bahamas – The Department of Immigration in The Bahamas has launched a new Automated Border Control program that will assist law enforcement officials in uncovering incidences of fraud with respect to travel documents, Bahamas Minister of National Security and Immigration, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest said.
The Automated Border Control program is one of a series of new initiatives the Department of Immigration, in conjunction with the Ministry of National Security and Immigration, have and will unveil to battle trans-national organized crimes such as the illegal trafficking in firearms, illicit drug trafficking and illegal migrant smuggling which law enforcement officials say all help to compound the country’s crime problem.
Mr. Turnquest also announced that the Department has “stepped up” the processing of Immigration matters to ensure that all who have a right to enter The Bahamas will be in a position to show that they do.
He said the Department of Immigration and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force will increase joint apprehension operations to reduce the number of illegal migrants in the country and that the Department of Immigration is in the process of hiring and training additional officers to meet demands in this area.
“Our open borders have always made us susceptible to trans-national, organized crime such as the illegal trafficking in firearms, illicit drug trafficking and illegal migration which compounds our domestic crime problems,” Mr. Turnquest said.
“We can draw a straight connection from these illegal trans-border activities to some of the crimes being committed in our country today. This is particularly so in respect of crimes committed using guns,” Mr. Turnquest added.
Minister Turnquest said a key component of the Government’s strategy to halt and reverse crime trends in The Bahamas is to ensure that its law enforcement agencies are adequately equipped and have the necessary resources to effectively discharge their mandate.
He said the Government has taken decisive steps to address trans-national crime by enhancing the assets of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and is in “an active acquisition period, bringing on stream and in a phased manner, air and seagoing assets.”
“Two weeks ago in Inagua, the Defence Force commissioned two, 27ft. boats that will patrol in the southern Bahamas,” Mr. Turnquest said. “We expect to take possession of 10 additional larger vessels and two aircraft later this year. We are also providing training for Officers and Marines of the Defence Force to ensure that it remains on the cutting-edge of technology and management techniques.
“While the Government is doing its part to halt and reverse the disturbing crime trends in The Bahamas, as is evident from the strategies it has put in place and the initiatives it has launched, I must emphasize, however, that the answer to our critical crime problems rests with each of us. Responsibility and accountability must be our watchword in what must be a national initiative to halt and reverse crime and criminality in our country,” Mr. Turnquest added.