“Don’t be tempted by bribes” immigration officials warned
Several customs and immigration officials participating in national border security training were on Monday warned against taking bribes, as this could undermine security.
Caricom Assistant Secretary General, Dr Douglas Slater urged officials working in the area of border security to resist the temptation to accept bribes.
While addressing the opening of the workshop at the Police Training Centre, the Caricom official said law enforcement agents were vulnerable to inducements for many reasons.
Assistant Secretary General Slater told officers that they had a responsibility to act professionally, and to be vigilant and compassionate. He said if they stepped aside from these values, it had the potential to create great chaos.
“With the economic situation in our Region, you are going to be faced with a challenge – the temptation of corruption and I am saying that plainly because we know that our workers within our border protection agencies, they do have that temptation and the criminals are out there making offers,” the official said.
He also urged the officers to become familiar with the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) framework and the rights of the free movement of Caribbean people, as this was an important issue that must be taken into account by all border control officials across the Region.
Meanwhile, Guyana’s Citizenship Minister Winston Felix, a former Police Commissioner, echoed similar sentiments, urging the officials not to fall prey to corruption.
“Fight the corrupt elements; don’t let them get to you. They get to you, they destroy you and, by extension, they destroy the image and reputation of the Government,” he asserted.
Felix also highlighted the fact that many people were caught daily with false immigration stamps in their passports and this was an issue in many countries.
In his comments, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud observed that Guyana has the political will to stamp out terrorism and other forms of organised crime.
He said this was fully supported by the Government. “In Guyana, we are fortunate to have the political will to deal with crime and violence. That is a necessity – political will is a necessity to deal with the crime and violence problems that exist today,” he said.
The workshop is being organised by the Caricom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS); the European Union and the United States Customs and Border Protection.
The training will enhance the capacity of border security officials to identify and intercept persons, goods or vessels travelling across borders by illicit means or with illicit intent.
The workshop’s training tools and manuals have been developed to facilitate harmonised standards and practices, policies and procedures to be used by Caribbean countries.