Wed, 03/23/2016 - 10:39am
Senator DePeiza defends fingerprinting at Ports
GOVERNMENT Senator Verla Depeiza has weighed in on the contentious matter of fingerprinting at the island’s ports, saying it is a proactive step to keep the country secure.
Recently the move to fingerprint Barbadians was delayed, according to a statement from the Immigration Department, 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.
Speaking during the Appropriation Bill 2016 in the Upper Chamber yesterday, Senator DePeiza acknowledged that her views differ from that of some of her professional colleagues but made the point that fingerprinting was more secure than passport or a national registration card, both of which have been fraudulently used, and are not a failsafe for the identification of Barbadian citizens.
“But we were born with a thing that can distinguish twins from one another, [it] is our fingerprints. What is the fear if it is we are guaranteeing our ports and safeguarding our entry, what is the fear of law abiding citizens of getting their fingerprints taken?”
“Those of us who travel are intimately familiar with the process and how short a time it takes … I boldly state that I support the initiative.”
Senator DePeiza drew reference to the tragic bombings in Belgium yesterday morning, which she said should be a reminder of the type of safeguards that countries must employ.
“You do not have to wait until evil visits our shores then to act… Barbados is no more or less vulnerable than any other place. Barbados already is a transhipment point for drugs and I have no difficulty stating that Barbados already is a transhipment for humans in human trafficking and it is not a short trip of my imagination to appreciation that in just a few years Barbados could become a transhipment point for terrorism.”
She pointed to the neighbouring Trinidad which has issues with nationals joining international [groups] for the purpose of terrorism. “And Barbados would be blind and wilfully ignorant if it did not take steps to safeguard our borders.”
The attorney-at-law told the Opposition Barbados Labour Party, that while it is their role to oppose, they must not oppose for opposing sake.
“The whole point of opposition is to create checks and balances, not road blocks, and we have to be very careful that we do not allow partisan politics to blinker us to the point where Barbados suffers as a result,” she said. (JH)