Attorney General, DOJ Participate in Global Trade Enforcement Workshop in Punta Cana

Firearms Smuggling and Global Trade Enforcement workshop held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Submitted photo)

Attorney General Denise George and members of the Virgin Islands Department of Justice (VIDOJ) participated in a “Firearms Smuggling and Global Trade Enforcement Workshop” sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National IPR Center and HSI Caribbean. The event was funded by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy and was held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, from Aug. 2-6.

The workshop included police and prosecutors from all throughout the Caribbean, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and it included training, conference and round table discussions on a wide range of issues unique to the Caribbean, with a special emphasis on building crime-fighting partnerships and alliances throughout the region.

Representatives of the DOJ presented on the importance of establishing inter-agency partnerships and collaboration amongst Caribbean law enforcement agencies in the fight against illegal firearms smuggling and intellectual property crimes. DOJ’s presentation was held on Tuesday, Aug. 3, with opening remarks from AG Denise George.

George told the audience, “The organizations behind the mass production and distribution of counterfeit products are the very same organizations smuggling illegal weapons and drugs into our countries and territories. By working together, we can begin to push back the threat that these transnational crimes pose to our public health and safety.” VIDOJ Assistant Attorney General Robert C. Barchiesi’s presentation was entitled “Interagency Partnerships and Collaboration Among Caribbean Law Enforcement Agencies in the Investigation of Intellectual Property Crimes.”

Prosecutors photo with prosecutors from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Aruba and the United States Department of Justice. (Submitted photo)

Barchiesi said, “To reduce gun violence in our community, it’s going to take strategic partnerships and resources that transcend well beyond our borders. This workshop helped connect us with our Caribbean counterparts at all levels of government to help us expand our crime-fighting efforts. Together we stand committed to combating the illegal shipment of weapons and other harmful goods from pouring through our borders.”

VIDOJ Director of Special Investigations Divisions William Curtis gave an overview of the Special Investigations Division of the V.I. Department of Justice.

AG George said she is delighted that VIDOJ representatives participated and looks forward to the new networks of relationships forged during the event. “Our office is especially excited to have been amongst other Caribbean countries in attendance, who we also know share the same common goal of protecting people from the very dangers associated with the transnational crimes that are the subject of this workshop. Our responses must always be global; it must be coordinated; and it requires every bit of our efforts to stop.”

The workshop concluded on Aug. 6 with a presentation of certificates to the attendees.