The Immigration Department has deferred plans to introduce fingerprinting at Barbados’ ports of entry from April 1. Accordingly, until further notice, no passengers, whether Barbadian or non-national, will be required to be fingerprinted.
This was announced in a statement issued by the Government Information Service a short while ago in which it quoted the Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Wayne Marshall, as saying the decision to defer the start of the biometrics screening programme was taken to allow the department more time to re-examine some of the issues, especially the legal issues, raised in the public arena, both orally and in writing, and to increase public awareness about the initiative.
Marshall made it clear that all legal procedures previously undertaken in adopting the Immigration (Biometric) Regulations, 2015, will be revisited, and any irregularities found corrected. This review is taking place in collaboration with the Solicitor General’s Chambers and the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.
Marshall noted that the benefits of fingerprinting were national in scope and included enhancing the level of national security; identifying individuals travelling with fraudulent identification documents; strengthening border control; reducing crime; improving investigation of crime; and preserving the high international ranking of the Barbados passport.
He also revealed that, to date, fingerprint readers have been installed at 20 desks in the Arrivals Hall at the airport. Special arrangements are also being put in place to ensure easy accessibility to the readers by wheelchair-bound passengers.
Additionally, kiosks are being installed to permit Barbadians and other select categories of persons to benefit from easier, smoother and faster passage through Immigration at the Grantley Adams International Airport. (BGIS)