March 16, 2007
Interpol praises Caribbean countries, CWC security preparations

Criminals and terrorists, thinking of hiding out in the Caribbean region, should beware. Caribbean security forces are in a heightened state of alert as the region prepares for Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007.

Secretary General of Interpol, Ronald Noble, said, while visiting the region last week, that the security mechanisms which CARICOM has put in place now make it difficult for anyone, using a stolen travel document to enter any of the nine CWC host countries. Caribbean security and law enforcement agencies are checking Interpol’s lost and stolen travel documents database routinely on a daily basis.{{more}}

The Interpol chief praised the efforts of the CWC host countries to provide a safe and secure environment for fans attending the tournament.

“What I am saying is that it is very, very, difficult for anyone holding a stolen travel document to get access to a country. Whether they are terrorists, involved in organized crime, human traffickers, child molesters, rapists or murderers, if they are carrying stolen documents, they are in trouble now,” he said.

Citing statistics to show the region’s commitment to providing a safe environment during the tournament, Mr. Noble pointed out that the CARICOM countries had consulted Interpol’s databases 96,000 times per month since January this year.

The region’s success rate for identifying persons carrying stolen travel documents had risen from 98 per cent over a four year period to 41 per cent in two months. CWC host countries were currently screening 25,000 passengers a month against the Interpol database.

“I am proud to say that there is only one other country in the world that does what the Caribbean does, and that is Switzerland. So we have the nine host countries for Cricket World Cup, Dominica and The Bahamas doing what no other country in the world except Switzerland is doing. That is something to be proud of, “Mr. Noble said.

He also noted that there were 40 million stolen and lost travel documents in circulation around the globe, 14,500,000 of which currently feature on Interpol’s SLTD database, a significant jump from 2002 when there were only 3 000 stolen travel documents listed on Interpol’s database.

Noble warned that terrorists, war criminals, those involved in organized crime, murderers, drug and human traffickers used tourism oriented economies like those in the Caribbean for vacation and for criminal activity. He attributed the rapid increase in identifying dangerous criminals globally to the rapid advance in information technology.