Minister of National Security and Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Horace Chang, urged Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to collaborate and develop model legislation and a regional migration policy to protect citizens from illegal migration practices.
The call was made during the 26th meeting of the CARICOM Standing Committees of Chiefs of Immigration and Comptrollers of Customs (CICC) conference held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Dr Chang highlighted the exponential increase in illegal migration practices across the Americas since the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put Caribbean nationals at risk of dangerous situations. He attributed the rise in migration to the harsh economic conditions resulting from the halting of international travel.
Recognizing the immediate danger posed by illegal migration practices, Dr. Chang emphasized the need for collaborative efforts, dialogue, and cooperation among CARICOM countries to strengthen their capacity to manage migration challenges. He stressed the urgency of developing model legislation and a regional migration policy as a governance framework to address regional migration effectively.
Jamaica, in response to the situation, has taken action by developing its first National Visa Policy. The policy was created through a comprehensive consultative process and is in its final stages of development. The country is also working on amending its immigration laws to support the strengthened regime.
Dr Chang encouraged the chiefs of immigration and comptrollers of customs from CARICOM nations to use the meeting to advance specific security initiatives that foster deeper levels of Caribbean unity, strengthened community governance and enhanced global influence.
The three-day conference, scheduled to conclude on Thursday (May 18), brings together regional border security officials to review immigration processes, assess the status of regional security structures, and identify the need for modifications in response to new and emerging trends.