Published 8th November 2018, 3:19pm
Recently proposed legislation by the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration aims to provide the legal framework for the establishment of a new intelligence-driven border control agency.
The Cayman Islands Customs and Border Control Department (CBC), a merger of existing customs and immigration entry and landing functions, will commence operations on 1 January 2019.
The tabled Customs and Border Control Bill, 2018 and the Advance Passenger Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018 will facilitate the Government’s policy objective of modernising the country’s national security strategies as it relates to border protection and public safety.
“Security is a key policy priority for the Government” Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin stated. “Integrating border security services will allow us to establish a more unified force when protecting our Islands from criminals and crimes that put at risk the safety of our community and the reputation of our country. This draft legislation is an essential early step in helping us to achieve this goal and will only become stronger as we move through the legislative process.”
The CBC’s Director (Designate) Charles Clifford explained the CBC’s intelligence-led, risk management approach will incorporate various methods and technologies to strengthen security measures, and streamline current business processes for travelling passengers and all persons who utilise the agency’s services.
“Collaboration is key to ensure this merger is effective and beneficial for all residents and visitors of the Cayman Islands,” he noted.
The Customs and Border Control Bill, 2018 seeks to move legal authority related to border control management under the Immigration Law (2015 Revision) from the Department of Immigration to CBC. The legislation for the functioning of CBC also incorporates all provisions of the Customs Law (2017 Revision).
The intent of the draft CBC Bill, 2018 is to:
• Allow the Director of CBC to assume the responsibilities, powers, and functions previously vested in the Collector of Customs, as it relates to customs matters of: entry and landing, visas, asylum, deportation and any other applicable border control matters.
• Provides for harmonisation in terms of references made to Customs Officers and Immigration Officers as necessary, to allow the delivery of the organisation’s integrated remit regardless of one’s previous appointment as either a customs officer or immigration officer.
• Allows for CBC, as the organisation with responsibility for border management, to make decisions in relation to granting or refusing persons entry into the jurisdiction with specified arrangements for the appeal against the decision of a CBC officer as may be necessary.
In addition, Government is also proposing to amend the Advance Passenger Information Bill, 2018 to reflect the authority of CBC to administer the relevant functions.
This amendment will also transfer the relevant powers under the law from the Chief Immigration Officer and Assistant Chief Immigration Officer to the Director of CBC.
“The borders of the Cayman Islands are more than just an entry and exit point,” Mr. Clifford said. “They are a critical piece of our nation’s infrastructure, as it’s an asset to invest in that will improve security, but also facilitate trade, generate revenue and create a seamless travel experience for all.”
Interested persons can review the bills in full at www.gazettes.gov.ky.