The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade is looking at ways to improve the country’s border security protocols in use at the nation’s several ports of entry.
To this end, discussions are being held with a representative of Canadian Bank Notes (CBN) on how to make the system, currently being used by immigration officers, more efficient. CBN’s Regional Security Manager for Identification Systems, Emilie Capowshi, is in St John’s meeting with officials of the department to discuss their concerns.
Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade Minister. E.P Chet Greene, met briefly with Capowski along with a team from the immigration department headed by the Chief Immigration Officer, Katrina Yearwood. The minister used the opportunity to share his thoughts on the issues of concern.
Yearwood said the department is trying to implement a more efficient border management system noting that her team has indicated to the CBN representative its expectations as they relate to the functionalities of the system.
She noted that there are several areas in the current system that need to be strengthened; one of which has to do with the Watch List. According to the Immigration Chief Officer there have been occasions where a person remains on the Watch List for over ten years, and that this ought not to happen. “There needs to be a system implemented where a person’s name is removed from the list after a prescribed amount of time,” she stated.
Another concern, she disclosed, follows when a wrong letter in a person’s name is entered into the system. Currently, she added, the system does not provide options about who the person may be. She wants the system upgraded to resolve these issues.
The Antigua and Barbuda officials, including Minister Greene, made a case for more training for the officers in the Immigration Department. The minister also suggested that a special training module could be created to train local trainers thereby creating opportunities for specialization among immigration officers.
CBN is the company that prints the EC dollar and whose system is also used by the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission.
Photo Caption: From left to right- Franklyn Celestine, local Rep for the CBN, Katrina Yearwood, Chief Immigration Officer, The Hon. E.P. Chet Greene (Middle), Emilie Capowshi from the CBN and John Mendes, Immigration officer of E-Visa Unit.