Rarotonga, Cook Islands, 1 December 2023 - The Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) was activated in November 2023 to support the security coordination for the Cook Islands hosting of the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting (PIFLM52). JIG was supported by the New Zealand Transnational Crime Unit (NZTCU) and was a collaboration of border agency representatives providing regular intelligence reporting on relevant matters for the duration of the PIFLM52.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) was pleased to assign Temata Karika, Border Security Officer to JIG to work alongside representatives of the Cook Islands National Intelligence Taskforce (CINIT). His valuable contribution to this initiative and his border security experience has been recognised with an invitation to take up a secondment with the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC) in Apia, Samoa, in 2024.
The PTCCC secondment is an opportunity to provide capability development through exposure to the strategic and operational transnational crime environment in the Pacific. Opportunities include training, participating in regional meetings related to transnational crime, and regular presentations on the Pacific Transnational Crime Network (PTCN) to international law enforcement partners.
"This is the first opportunity that Immigration Cook Islands has had to take up a secondment with PTCCC, so no doubt we are excited about the experience that Temata is about to undertake, for what will be the first secondment of many moving forward," said Principal Immigration Officer, Chere Arthur.
"With a focus on capability development for the Immigration Division over the next two years and the emphasis on staff retention strategies for the Ministry, the commitment that our MFAI staff have demonstrated over this last year in the lead up to hosting PIFLM52 is recognised through the endorsement of participation in this and other law enforcement initiatives. Temata will strengthen his and the Ministry's ability in the provision of these national security-related services during and post the secondment," stated MFAI Secretary, Tepaeru Herrmann.
MFAI has a long-standing relationship with the PTCN and especially the NZTCU, which was bolstered in 2017 when a Fight Night was organised on Rarotonga, leading to a legislative amendment in 2019 to give Immigration Cook Islands mandate to deny travel and entry to prohibited persons.
Congratulations to Temata Karika for securing this opportunity. MFAI wish you all the best for your secondment in the New Year!