Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said that the vehicles were purchased to enhance the capabilities of the K-9 Unit which is a vital part of the Joint Taskforce.
“The safety of our people comes first and as a Government we continue to ensure that our Customs officers have the necessary equipment to assist them with their daily responsibilities in law enforcement and border security,” the Minister of Finance said.
He added the vehicles are a necessary addition to further strengthen the capability of the team as the Joint Task Force continues to work diligently and with great commitment in ‘The New Regular, living and working with COVID-19’.
“I thank all the law enforcement officers of the Joint Task Force for their continued dedication to protecting lives. This joint partnership indeed allows for full engagement in the Territory’s capacity and capability in strengthening and improving security upon our Territorial waters and on land throughout the islands.”
Commissioner of Customs, Mr Wade N. Smith said the new vehicles will be used to compliment the entire border security operations currently being conducted by the Joint Taskforce to protect the Virgin Islands from illegal entry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commissioner described the support of the K-9 Unit as vital, stating that the K-9 handlers are experienced with expertise in detecting contraband and humans from entering the Virgin Islands through thorough inspections of containers, cargo and passengers transported via land, air or sea.
Mr Smith, who is also Chair of the Joint Taskforce, expressed his gratitude to the Government of the Virgin Islands and the Minister of Finance for ensuring that the finances were available to equip the Joint Taskforce with the much needed resources to protect the Territory’s borders and keep the frontline officers safe during this special operation.
The Joint Task Force is a collaboration between officers of Her Majesty’s Customs, the Immigration Department, and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. The Task Force was established to increase surveillance and enforcement on sea and land during this COVID-19 era. This multiagency approach to law enforcement has taken a zero-tolerance stance to crime on land and sea and seeks to foster safer communities for legal residents.
The officers involved have expressed their commitment to remaining focused on playing their respective roles in keeping the VI safe during this pandemic and beyond.
The Government of the Virgin Islands continues to take measures to further strengthen the protection of the VI sea borders as part of the COVID-19 24-hour mitigation strategy under the theme, ‘BVILOVE: Partnering and Protecting Our Sea Borders In The New Regular’.
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