Fingerprinting measure bizarre
AN Opposition Member of Parliament is concerned that Government still seems fixed on requiring passengers coming through the island’s ports of entry to be fingerprinted.
Member of Parliament for St. Joseph, Dale Marshall, raised the point while making his contribution to the debate on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2016, which is aimed at making provision for an offence of smuggling of persons with the law, so as to meet the country’s requirements under the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.
“This Administration, despite the very vocal criticisms of the public of Barbados, are once more hell bent, to use the Shakespearean terms – they are bloody, bold and resolute in terms of taking us down this road. Now the Minister of the Environment was hell bent on taking us down a particular road too, and only in the last week, only in the last week came to this Parliament… hoping perhaps to disavow any intention to have taken us in the direction of Cahill. Perhaps we are seeing a similar modality being employed here,” he said.
Marshall, a former Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, remains steadfast in his belief that it is wrong to subject Barbadian citizens to a requirement for fingerprinting when they are either leaving or entering this country. He maintained it is in “total and complete opposition” to the international treaties that the country has signed.
“How is it, Madam Deputy Speaker, that they ignore the other obligations, the other international obligations that our country signed onto, which guarantees Barbadian citizens the right of entry into their home without let, hindrance or any pre-condition. That is another treaty that we signed onto,” he contended.
Marshall maintained that the measure is not only fundamentally wrong, but illogical.
“If the Government of Barbados wants to fingerprint international visitors, so be it. We have never raised any objection to fingerprinting international visitors. Our fundamental objection has always been that the Government, for some bizarre reason, wants to fingerprint Barbadian citizens,” he added.
He added, “Imagine, Madam Deputy Speaker, if one of your constituents came into Barbados and refused to give a fingerprint. What is the immigration officer going to do? Deport him or her to where they came from? But they are Barbadians, so you can’t deport a Barbadian from Barbados.
“On the other hand, could the immigration office charge them with an offence because they refused to give a fingerprint? Equally objectionable and idiotic.”
The Opposition MP is therefore accusing Government of putting measures in place without proper forethought. With that in mind, he said that even though the Opposition think the fingerprinting option to be unnecessary, he admitted that there are elements of the Barbados passport and ID arrangements that should be improved for security reasons. (JRT)