Twenty-three (23) officials from various agencies in St. Kitts sand Nevis participated in a training workshop which was hosted by the Immigration Department at the Police Training Complex. The purpose of the workshop was to ensure that Government agencies have a common understanding of their roles in relation to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) in general, and the Free Movement of Persons (FMP) in particular.
Participants represented the St. Kitts and Nevis Customs and Excise Department, Social Security, the Inland Revenue Department, the Accreditation Council, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council, the Labour Department, the Ministry of International Trade, and the Ministry of National Security.
They got an overview of the CSME and discussed topics such as the role of the Immigration Department and its officers, facilitation of travel, free movement of skilled CARICOM nationals, right of establishment and provision of services, as well as customer service.
The workshop began with a brief opening session on Wednesday, January 07. Head of the Immigration Department, Inspector Jacqueline Brown, explained that one of the intentions was to make participants more aware of their roles in the CSME and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) agreements that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis had signed on to.
“So we will hope that through these [sessions]…we are able to plug all the loop holes and ensure we get this right once and for all,” Inspector Brown said.
The main facilitator, Constable Sheldon Jeffers from the Immigration Department, participated in a Train-the-Trainers Workshop for Immigration and Customs Officers in June 2017 in Barbados. It was organised by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and was part of the Tenth European Development Fund CARICOM Single Market and Economy Economic Integration Programme. The objective of the training was to clarify the roles and functions of Border (Immigration and Customs) Officers where the CSME was concerned, and to address issues relating to the Free Movement of Persons.
Constable Jeffers and other participants in that workshop were then mandated to engage in three training sessions at the national level. This first workshop ran for one and a half days and the second workshop was scheduled for February 09 in Nevis.
“We all should know each other’s [role] and what we do, because when persons arrive at the airport, it is our responsibility as immigration officers, as the first point of contact, to inform them, to educate them…” said Constable Jeffers.
Assisting him with presentations were Trade Policy Officers from the Ministry of International Trade in the persons of Sherima Powell, Samantha Boone and Shemida Pemberton, along with Jahme Jahbarme who works at the CSME Desk in the Ministry of International Trade. Some of the sessions were also facilitated by the CARICOM Secretariat in Barbados via an online forum. (Press Release via St. Kitts sans Nevis Information Service)