Border control officers keep abreast of new techniques

They are mastering these skills and competencies through a training session organised by the department in collaboration with the British high commission.

The training started yesterday at The Guy Morel Institute (TGMI) and is being conducted by liaison officer Oliver Rudden who is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Minister for Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka, the principal secretary for immigration and civil status, Alain Volcère, and senior management of the department and immigration officers attended the opening ceremony.

Other groups within the department will today continue their training which will end tomorrow.

Minister Fonseka welcomed this collaboration and noted “that the immigration trainings come at an opportune time, in preparation for a possible upsurge in the number of visitors and in dealing with a dynamic foreign work force. The aim of this training is to bring our airport-based immigration officers up to speed with new developments”.

Minister Fonseka also remarked that it is important for all to understand that vigilance by immigration officers at the points of entry in the country is a key element in safeguarding national borders.

“It is hoped that this training will provide added impetus for our officers to be constantly on the look-out for individuals and groups determined to importing criminal activity to these islands. I am hopeful that the exposure will be a worthwhile experience to the participants and that they will be better prepared for the challenges ahead,” Minister Fonseka said.

Minister Fonseka also extended his gratitude to the British high commission and to Mr Rudden for bringing this training to his department.

Mr Rudden explained that the importance of delivering such training in the Seychelles is to keep the population and its islands safe.

“This is done through effective border control and the less time we spend in allowing the genuine tourists in, will increase the island’s popularity in the world. We will start the programme with passenger profiling – identify a good passenger v/s a bad passenger, then we will move to modern slavery, child trafficking awareness to try and combat which is a big problem across the globe. We will then move into impostor detection, that is when someone is pretending to be someone they are not. Finally we will close today on document examination.”

Mr Rudden noted that the UK is not only providing the equipment today but also support where assistance and training are needed.

“After Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed, for sure we will see more cases of border traffic and we are here to assist you in reaching your full potential,” Mr Rudden said.

Conrad Mounac, an assistant immigration officer, expressed that this training will definitely help them do a better job at profiling people entering the country. “Many things and people have evolved around the world and this training will give us some tools. We have to be more tech savvy and people are getting more cunning and try their best to by-pass the laws. With the training we hope to learn more on the new ways of doing profiling,” he said.

Linda Felicie, also an assistant immigration officer, is happy to be part of yet another training.

“As part of the department of immigration, we have done similar trainings in the past and in this one we expect to learn more on the new ways of detecting false documents and profiling of passengers. As we are a tourist destination, we have to be very attentive in our profiling so that we can differentiate between genuine visitors and those that are not.”


Vidya Gappy

Photos: Thomas Meriton