The governments of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas have agreed on new action to “combat illegal immigration, drug smuggling and illegal fishing,” the countries said in a statement.
The agreement came following talks between Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, Turks and Caicos Governor Peter Beckingham, TCI Border Control Minister Ricardo Don Hue Gardiner and Haiti President Michel Martelly earlier this week.
The renewed action will include “greater information and intelligence sharing”; “Placement of defence or police forces on each others’ vessels, and the operation of vessels in each others’ countries, including to interdict illegal migration, drugs and illegal fishing”; and “expert training of staff in interdiction methods,” according to the statement.
The governments also agreed that they should consider formalizing these areas of cooperation in a short memorandum of understanding.
“I am delighted that we had such constructive talks at the invitation of the Bahamian Prime Minister,” Beckingham said. “There was a real willingness on the Bahamian side to consider the value of intelligence sharing as well as the possibility of our defence and police forces operating more closely together.”
Beckingham said that, while the talks would not “bring to an instant halt the risks of illegal migration … there was a real willingness on the Bahamian side to consider the value of intelligence sharing as well as the possibility of our defence and police forces operating more closely together.”
The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos have been dealing with significant levels of illegal migration from neighbouring countries, led by Haiti, in recent years.