At the 23rd Micronesian Island Forum (MIF), an agreement was signed to establish the “Micronesian Regional Transnational Crime Unit”. The purposes of the MTCU include to “serve as criminal law enforcement network that analyses trends of criminal activities….risks and vulnerability against transnational crimes and terrorism and collaboration and sharing of information throughout the membership of the MIF.”
This sounds like a great organization. It even sounds very similar to another unit in Micronesia called the “Micronesian Transnational Crime Unit”. It is also referred to as the MTCU.
In 2008, a ribbon cutting ceremony in Palikir was conducted for the Micronesian Transnational Crime Unit:
The Unit is based in Palikir, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Similar units have been created in other Pacific Island Countries such as PNG, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The MTCU is comprised of Law Enforcement Officers from the Micronesian region. Currently the unit is staffed by officers from Kiribati Police Force, Palau Public Safety, Pohnpei State Public Safety, RMI Police Force, FSM Customs, FSM Immigration and Labor and the FSM National Police. Officers from the Common Wealth of the Northern Marianas will soon be joining the unit.
Another article from 2008 further describes the MTCU:
The Micronesia Regional Transnational Unit opened April 23 in Pohnpei, Micronesia, to promote information sharing critical to stemming the flow of drugs, particularly methamphetamines, throughout Asia and the Pacific…The task force also is training operators at the new facility “to, in simplistic terms, connect the dots to look at emerging trends,……Intelligence gathered through the new unit will support Micronesia’s three patrol boats, provided through Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat Program to monitor against ocean-borne threats……“What we are trying to do is support a network that will support the multinational sharing of information, since a lot of these transnational crime activities are truly global enterprise”.
And now compare this with the 2018 MTCU, article 3, areas of cooperation:
Preventing, investingation and prosecuting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities…
Combatting money laundering, terrorism and related offenses….
Exchange of information regarding drug trafficking and drug smuggling….
Sharing of information regarding national and regional trends of criminal activities
I’m just glad we have full coverage of transnational crimes in Micronesia. I’m not sure if there will be an overlapping or redundancy of duties.
This may just be an added dimension to crime fighting in Micronesia. If not, then I hope our government can ease the confusion by explaining how each unit helps the other. They sound like the same unit, but one is strictly for Micronesian means and the other receives and feeds information from beyond the region.
Question and conclusion
Here are my questions in closing, is the new MTCU duplicating ANY of the activities of the existing MTCU? Can they complement each other without duplicating efforts?