Finance Minister defends immigration practices
Finance Minister Chris Sinckler is defending the practices of the Immigration Department.
The St Michael North West Member of Parliament said they have a duty to ensure that Barbadians are safe and that the country’s borders are protected.
He was speaking on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill in the House of Assembly.
“It is a little disingenuous of us to want to have security, to feel secure, but yet for people to proffer arguments to give the impression that you can just have any willy-nilly policy,” Sinckler said.
“When I hear this policy about CARICOM, about free movement of persons and all of these things, even though I am a regionalist, I know that with great power comes responsibility. Even though I give up some my sovereignty under CARICOM, I still have a responsibility to protect the citizens of my country and protect the visitor too.
Sinckler, a former Immigration officer, explained that based on past experience the department had to contend with constant challenges.
“Some persons may be coming for things that are not necessarily wholesome. They, too, might be exposed to things that they might have not been exposed to if they had not tried to engage in mischief. I know as a former immigration officer that almost on a daily basis there is always some mischief-maker who is secreting themselves in a country and engaging in illegal acts, and immigration has to be going for them. The department has to be using physical resources, human resources and financial resources going after people. There are people who find ways to bypass security, get into the country and then you have a lot of problems with them,” he said.
“If the Immigration Department had to issue a Press release every time they encounter someone they had to intercept or go for in that regard and to deport, they would have to be a Press release in the paper every minute of the day. That is the reality. Many Barbadians are unaware of this because they are not exposed to it at that level. I know the Minister of Immigration is aware because he has to deal with it on a daily basis, but the average citizen is not. We must be aware of the challenges these people have to deal with.”