GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands – The Premier attended the signing ceremony of a new arrangement with the United States on Tuesday, 16 January 2018, which will enhance intelligence cooperation and improve the experience of passengers arriving at Owen Roberts International Airport.
“This was an initiative of the last Administration. I am pleased that this has progressed since I announced the initiative in February at last year’s Cayman Economic Outlook Conference, and I thank the Governor’s office for helping get us to this stage,” said Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin
The signing followed negotiations with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) coordinated by the Governor’s Office and the heads of Customs and Immigration. The new arrangement will see Cayman Immigration and Customs officers working at Miami International Airport to pre-clear passengers departing for the Islands.
The new scheme, which will commence in March, will enable passengers arriving from Miami at peak times to use a new fast track procedure when landing in the Cayman Islands to improve flows through Owen Roberts International Airport, which will lead to improved service for all passengers. Officials are also working to identify and assess new Customs procedures that would further serve to improve passenger flows as well as law enforcement.
A senior US delegation led by CBP Executive Assistant Director Todd Owen visited Cayman to sign the Declaration of Principles bringing the new arrangement into effect. The US delegation will also discuss wider border security issues with Customs, Immigration, and Police leadership teams.
The Governor’s Office also announced that an experienced manager from UK Border Force will be seconded to the Cayman Islands to advise on work to transform elements of Immigration and Customs into a new Cayman Islands Border Protection Service. The new officer will also lead on measures to introduce further intelligence-led and risk-based procedures to modernise the way that border control is carried out. This work follows the Premier’s announcement of the formation of the Border Protection Service in the Legislative Assembly at the end of August.
In addition, legislation is being introduced that will enable the Cayman Islands to join the CARICOM Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) before the end of the year. This will improve intelligence flows with our partners to identify potential security threats and allow border control officers to proactively tackle those risks. This work is being led by the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration.
“I am delighted to welcome Mr. Owen and his team to the Cayman Islands to sign this declaration. It is the first time that the US has entered into such an arrangement with another country and will be the first time that our Customs and Immigration officers will be deployed overseas in such a role. It will introduce a new fast track procedure at the airport and help to improve customer experience at peak weekend times,” Mr. McLaughlin said.
“Our new border control procedures will also be more effective and more welcoming to all who pass through the airport. The work on the initiatives being announced today is a good example of a multi-agency approach within the Civil Service and our friends in the UK and the USA. This improved cooperation is also part of this Government’s overall plans to improve border protection as I recently announced in the Legislative Assembly.”
Matthew Forbes, Head of the Governor’s Office commented, “The new arrangement with CBP and the deployment of an experienced UK Border Force adviser marks the start of a new era of modern intelligence-led border control that will provide greater security to the Cayman Islands. This is part of a wider programme of work to modernise our border controls, which will see a renewed focus on the prevention of firearms and drug smuggling. This will help to ensure that the public are protected against the increasing external threats which Cayman faces.”