THE implementation of a system by the Immigration Department to fingerprint everyone entering and departing Barbados, is under review.
Word of this came from Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, as he told the House of Assembly yesterday that a comprehension review has been undertaken.
“Whatever has to be corrected, whatever has to be made right will be made right, and made right in such a way that the fundamental rights and freedoms of Barbadians will be respected,” he stressed.
According to Stuart “The idea that the government is obsessively and compulsively setting out to fingerprint Barbadians leaving and returning home – that is not the mind-set of the Prime Minister of Barbados, it is certainly not the mind-set of any of the officials around the Prime Minister of Barbados.
“I think that some issues have been raised, and if those issues turn out to be issues of merit, we are prepared to be make wrong things right.”
The process of fingerprinting was slated to start from April 1, also followed this year with a measure to facially scan passengers. The only exemptions to these regulations will be holders of diplomatic passports and children under the age of 16.
“There were certain material concerns which the Immigration Department and the Ministry of Defence and Security had about forged travel documents, the abuse of Barbadian passports, etc. This did not all relate to foreigners. In many respects people of Barbadian birth and descent were involved. We better face the reality that some strange things have been happening around here, involving our own people as well.
“Now, that is not another way of saying that we should make some kind of inductive leap from a few instances and try to criminalise the whole society – I am not saying that at all. But, I am saying that it was in that spirit that I believe the Immigration Department and the Ministry of Defence of Society and Office of the Attorney General, confronted this issue,” he pointed out.
“I am certainly not evangelical about it, I am certainly not so obsessed with it, that I would turn a blind eye to the constitutional niceties that have to be observed or to the fundamental rights and freedoms of Barbadians.” (TL)