Minister with responsibility for Immigration, Senator Darcy Boyce, on Monday announced a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring “quick though secure passage through border control”.
Boyce who attended the opening of a border security training workshop for Immigration and Customs officers, said shift systems at the ports of entry would be redesigned to ensure that the Customs and Immigration counters were fully staffed during peak periods. In addition, he has asked that discussions be held with the Ministry of the Civil Service and trade unions to facilitate the process.
He said the Ministry is also continuing to work on an initiative which involves the installation of 14 Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks in the Arrivals Hall at the Grantley Adams International Airport, aimed at significantly decreasing the waiting times of arriving passengers in the terminal.
The kiosks, that should be activated later this year, will give passengers the option of inputting the required Customs and Immigration information electronically. According to Boyce, International airports using the system have reported a 40 to 50 per cent drop in the wait times..
Another initiative expected to help improve security and processing times, relates to the provision of advanced passenger information by carriers coming into Barbados, and the Ministry is working to ensure that this was effectively provided.
The Minister also said that work is ongoing on a project to provide technology which would enable the Customs Department to improve and increase surveillance of luggage and cargo in less time in order to improve security and increase facilitation.
The week-long border security workshop is sponsored by the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), in collaboration with the European Union and the United States Customs and Border Protection.
The training is expected to improve interviewing techniques, fraudulent document inspection, body language analysis, and luggage and person examination. It will also enhance the capacity of border security officials to identify and intercept persons, goods or vessels travelling across borders by illicit means or with illicit intent; improve screening techniques to reduce wait times at checkpoints; and reduce litigation and poor publicity that might result from interaction with immigration or customs officials.
- Countries: Barbados