Opposition Leader Reverend Joseph Atherley has questioned the timing of Government’s decision to remove Immigration officials from some sections of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson had earlier revealed that Cabinet had taken a decision to move personnel from the departure and arrival halls effective February 1.
However, during his contribution to the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Parliament this afternoon, Atherley queried whether government had properly thought through the move.
“While I, in principle, have no problem with the removal of such because we see it happening elsewhere, at the same time we still have to admit that it is still in place in very many places in this world and we have to utilize those systems when we travel to other people’s countries,” Atherley said.
“But the point is this, it has to do with the timing. Today as a country we are trying to wrestle the evil of that rising tide of serious gun violence and criminal activity to the ground. Today we are becoming increasingly aware that the phenomenon of violent crime is not a matter that is localized, but that it is organized trans-regionally, trans-nationally and therefore the issue of cross border activity becomes a critical consideration. I find it a bit challenging that when we are faced with that rising spectre of criminal violence and we are met with an understanding that part of the dynamic contributing to that is cross border travel and movement, I find it a little challenging as to the timing of removing officers from the departure point at the airport.”
He admitted that while he was not against the shift, he believed it had to be done at the proper time.
“I have no problem with their removal at the right time and over time, but it is this government that must judge and it is this particular minister that must judge whether or not this is the appropriate time to do that,” the Opposition Leader
Atherley however, said he had no problem with the introduction of additional kiosks, once it was properly managed and once issues of privacy were appropriately dealt with.