Stakeholders in the shipping industry have agreed that more collaboration is needed among the various authorities that have a role in the protection of Jamaica's borders.
The stakeholders who attended The Shipping Association of Jamaica's (SAJ) panel discussion on 'Protecting Our Borders' said based on the information given by the panellists, there was duplication of functions by several entities and, as such, the groups should move to collaborate on their efforts.
President of the SAJ, Roger Hinds, concurred with the stakeholders on the need for greater collaboration. He pointed out that in order for the shipping industry to remain efficient and competitive, industry members must engage with the organisations which supervise security.
"Security is not the exclusive domain of people involved in security; every one of us has a role to play. We are going to be engaging more and more with the security persons because we have a common objective to provide a safe and secure environment in which we can do our trade," Hinds said.
Bertrand Smith, director of legal affairs at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), in response to the issues raised, advised the meeting that a recent workshop with participants from the MAJ, Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard and Customs Border Patrol and other stakeholders was held to discuss the same issues.
He noted that it was recognised that there were overlaps, which had implications for the use of scarce resources. As a result, the parties have agreed that there was a need for a single comprehensive maritime security policy and that an inter-agency committee will be formed to develop this policy by summer of this year.
The SAJ hosted the panel discussion to educate industry members on initiatives being implemented by the relevant authorities in an effort to protect Jamaica's borders from persons seeking to import/export contraband.
Held on April 27, the discussion panellists included DCP Linval Bailey, vice-president, PAJ in charge of security; Commander Kenneth Douglas, JDF Coast Guard; Major Stanley Ford, assistant commissioner, Customs Border Protection; DSP Oral Harrison, JCF Marine Division and Assistant Attaché Songura Cole, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The event was sponsored by Jamaica Trading Services Limited.
The panel discussion examined the roles of the various organisations that are involved in border protection and security, including the JCF Marine Division, the Jamaica Coast Guard, Jamaica Customs Border Patrol and the PAJ. Participants were also updated on the success of port security since the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code in 2004.