A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the implementation of the Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) in Jamaica was signed at the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing on December 10, 2014.
AIRCOP is a multi-agency, anti-trafficking initiative which strengthens detection, interdiction and investigative capacities of participating airports in illicit drug source and transit countries was developed jointly by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL).
The initiative seeks to support the establishment of secure and effective international law enforcement networks to counter the risk of illicit imports and exports via air.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Transport, Works & Housing Dr. Omar Davies said that his Ministry’s involvement in the process will be channelled through the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority and the Airports Authority of Jamaica. He noted that Jamaica had made tremendous strides in the fight against the international trade in illicit goods, particularly drugs and that the AIRCOP initiative would provide Jamaica with some of the support needed to mount an even stronger response.
“This will be facilitated by the establishment of two Joint Interdiction Task Forces (JATF’s), one at the Norman Manley International Airport and a second at Sangster International Airport. The objective here will be to improve co-ordination in various areas as well as to avoid duplication of activities leading to a safe, reliable, efficient and user-friendly Air Transport System,” the Minister emphasised.
For his part, National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting said “… this initiative certainly represents one of the most substantial partnerships based on its structure, the partners involved, the access to international intelligence platforms and the number of countries already committed to the initiative.”
Continuing, he said, “The increased capacity for real-time intelligence sharing through a secured communication network, CENComm, of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), and the increased access to INTERPOL’s tools through the INTERPOL I-24/7 system, are particularly beneficial, and will significantly bolster national and regional efforts to investigate and prosecute transnational crimes.”
Also speaking at the signing ceremony were, Mrs Audrey Sewell, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing who chaired the function; Mr. Bob Van den Berghe, Law Enforcement Expert of the UNODC Regional Office and Mr Jesus Oros Baguena who represented Honourable Paola Amadei, Head of the European Union in Jamaica.