Closer scrutiny

Police support new airport security plans

A new immigration control system announced today has received the backing of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF), with a senior officer describing it as long overdue.

Effective April 1, everyone entering or leaving the island would be fingerprinted.
Effective April 1, everyone entering or leaving the island would be fingerprinted.

The Immigration Department announced that effective April 1 this year, everyone entering or leaving the island through the ports of entry would be fingerprinted.

The decision was announced via a brief release from the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) in which Chief Immigration Officer Erine Griffith was quoted as saying the introduction of fingerprinting would be followed later this year by facial scanning of passengers.

The only exemptions to these regulation would be holders of diplomatic passports and children under the age of 16, the release stated.

It quoted Griffith as saying that these security measures brought Barbados “in line with international ports of entry” and were mandatory under the Immigration (Biometrics) Regulation 2015.

She also urged the cooperation of the travelling public, explaining that her department was seeking to ensure the safety of all who used this island’s ports of entry.

In supporting the measure, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Crime Lybron Sobers told Barbados TODAY it was long in coming and would strengthen the hand of the RBPF in its fight against crime.

“It would help to identify people and keep records of people that are coming and going, not only fingerprint, but facial too, although fingerprint is the best method of ID. That is something that we should be doing ever since,” Sobers said.

Asked if the proposed measure would help the police crack down on the importation of illegal firearms, the senior officer replied: “Not specifically guns; it would help deal with crime. I don’t even think that if they are doing it, they would only be doing it for guns. They should be doing it for crime and people that travelling . . . criminals moving from one country to the other. I think that would be the main thing.”

When the measure was first introduced here briefly in 2009 it created a backlash with travellers turning to social media to publicize their objections.

“Just arrived home after my usual month’s vacation. On my departure at Grantley Adams Airport I saw visitors complaining as immigration were attempting to fingerprint them on arrival. One person on refusing was told she would be refused entry and put on the plane back. I have been visiting Barbados for the past 30 years by all means fingerprint the caught illegals to prevent them returning. But as a genuine tourist I am afraid on my next visit if this procedure is still in force they may put me on the plane back after my refusal and I will be taking myself and my money elsewhere,” one person with the handle, Pharrison64 from Yorkshire Dales in northern England posted on the travel review website, TripAdvisor.

“As with most of these “security” measures, it will cause inconvenience to the law abiding majority, while the criminals will quickly find a way to get round it,” added someone with the handle, Berbician from London, UK, while “Chrisky” from Oakville, Canada wrote: “They don’t need my fingerprint to check if I’ve left. They already record that information when I arrive.”

However, not everyone was critical of the move, as reflected in this post by “BillyDove” from the UK, also on TripAdvisor: “I do know that if the Barbados government require my electronic fingerprint in order to enter the country, then of course I will give it happily. I see no reason why not; I have nothing to hide and no wish to take part in any criminal activity whilst staying there. This will certainly not stop me from visiting my holiday destination of choice.”

This afternoon, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite defended the decision, telling Barbados TODAY in a terse comment the new security measure showed that Barbados was simply following in the footsteps of other countries that had implemented similar measures.

“That’s the way of the world . . . when you travel now-a-days, is that not what happens . . . the biometrics set up? That’s the way of the world,” the Attorney General said.

“We are just moving with the times. That’s all. When you go into the US now, isn’t that automatically what happens? That’s the way of the world,” he emphasized.

Lawmen have in the past suggested that fingerprinting was an appropriate weapon in the war on crime, contending that people were coming to Barbados committing crimes and flying back out, but  because of  the absence of evidence they could only speculate on the situation.

49 Responses to Closer scrutiny

  1. Browne-love Jan
    Browne-love Jan February 16, 2016 at 3:18 am

    Pharrison64.. Who cares? If you are a law abiding citizen what is the problem? The US does it..why don’t you go there and refuse.. Law abiding?..You clearly stated you will not follow the law..and your post will not stop people coming to our beautiful shores.. On ya bike!

    • Jules Baxter
      Jules Baxter February 16, 2016 at 3:33 am

      The US didn’t do it when I went to New York last year so I think you may be incorrect there! I love Barbados but if the airport becomes chaotic then i’m afraid it will put people off coming to your island! The last time I exited Havana in Cuba, immigration were taking 7 to 10 mins to process each individual, it caused pandemonium for a number of flights that had to be delayed due to passengers being stuck the wrong side if immigration! We have no intention of flying to Havana again!

      • ian brathwaite February 16, 2016 at 3:16 pm

        Entry to New York requires non residents and permanent residents to be photograph and fingerprinted . It is almost seamless .I think it is a very good idea to implement this measure. For too long visitors have been slipping into Bim and vanishing,

  2. Francine D Cox February 16, 2016 at 5:38 am

    I totally agree with this procedure. Barbados must also supply the staff to make our entry easier, and as quick as possible.

  3. Harry February 16, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Then that visitor from the UK who says that on their next visit the Authorities will have to put them back on the flight doesn’t plan on visiting the US either.

    I see nothing wrong with this move just hope that it does add another couple of hours to what can be – at times – an already long processing time.

  4. Klaus Schneider February 16, 2016 at 7:23 am

    There is nothing wrong with taking fingerprints everybody travel to the USA get fingerprinted too, so everyone who not like it stay at home

  5. Andy Angel February 16, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Only the guilty should be concerned about this. I visit from UK every year and it won’t deter me.

    BUT if they want to improve things make sure it doesn’t take any longer than currently and please GAIA improve the entry times for clearing baggage through customs. If you are modernising then do away with counting how many bags people have and get rid of that queue. They don’t do that in U.S. or UK do they, just random stops?

  6. Mich J February 16, 2016 at 7:34 am

    The Barbados government are broke, how are they implementing a buometric system in two months time???? Last time I was in Barbados it too over an hour to get through immigration, this move will double those waiting times and single handedly deter tourists. Very few places in the world require fingerprints so why this move all of a sudden?

  7. sue February 16, 2016 at 8:13 am

    agree with Harry..the lines will be more unbearable than they already are..way to go! another nail in the tourism coffin..

  8. Ormond Mayers February 16, 2016 at 8:24 am

    People have to understand and appreciate they safety is very important, hence, measures to enhance their security , must be embraced . The world are becoming more and more dangerous, and there is a lack of respect for life. All gaps that creates opportunity for those ishing to commit a crime, must be closed.

  9. Lena Johansson February 16, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I don’t know how passports for the rest of the world works but when had my passport renewed I had to be fingerprinted so the new version of Swedish passports, already has electronics fingerprint.

  10. Alex Alleyne February 16, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Is this in line with the “REVISED TREATY OF CHAGUARAMAS”, because soon we will hear CARICOM persons saying ” if I don’t picture and finger print you , then why me” .
    I am fully in support of this move and I think it is long over due .
    So I say to one and all ,” if you are CLEAN then you don’t anything to worry about”.

  11. seagul February 16, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Unbelievable–Such an important issue which surrounds our bread and butter, and only two comments. Waiting for what big brother has to say— this will be a nightmare for tourism and so the poorer will be poorer. The voiceless should be heard–if this is a democracy. This must be well thought through–then the cruise liners at the port…

  12. Guest44 February 16, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I have never been fingerprinted going into the US or here in Canada! Finger printing and biometric scanning into the “system” are for criminals. I will not go back to Barbados either. Same reason we don’t travel to cuba.

  13. kym kelley February 16, 2016 at 10:17 am

    This is great news…every time ppl travel to the US, they go through immigration get fingerprinted n pic taken…what’s the problem..This has nothing to do with Caricom. ..This is about the up keeping of International standards.
    Who don’t like it don’t travel.

  14. Rick February 16, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I am not understanding how this will improve crime fighting efforts unless other countries are also doing this and information is shared among all coutries. Unless other countries are online and sharing information this measure will only identify individuals who may have already committed a crime in bim.
    I am all for measures that will identify criminal elements and improve security but i am not understanding the expected outcome of this measure.

  15. Cicely February 16, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I have lived in the US for 38 years-going back & forth to & from Barbados. I have NEVER been fingerprinted either leaving or re-entering the US. Would someone inform me of which port of entry this is done in the US? I have absolutely no problem with being fingerprinted in Barbados or anywhere else since I have nothing to hide but there is something missing here which I would love to have explained.

    • Anon February 16, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      If you are a US citizen you would not have been exposed to the fingerprinting and retinal scanning done at ALL US port of entries. I’m shocked that you are so unaware of your surroundings. Each immigration kiosk has the retinal scanner and finger printing apparatus.

      You probably don’t travel much! Take notice if you ever do.

    • Antny Browne February 17, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      There is a misconception that EVERYONE gets finger printed entering the USA. This is not the case. US Citizens are “typically” not fingerprinted re-entering the country. However MOST visitors and Permanent Residence are fingerprinted on entry through ALL US ports of entry. However at the end of the day it is up to the discretion of the immigration officer.

  16. Alex Alleyne February 16, 2016 at 11:28 am


  17. Andrew Rudder February 16, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Finger prints were already recorded and graphed into Barbados passports many years ago. Information will be shared with participating Interpol and other informatics Countries around the Global Village!

  18. Helen Watts February 16, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Its data collection and outrageous , I have been married to a Bajan for 27 years and come backwards and forwards all the time , i have nothing to hide and can honestly say, have never been fingerprinted by anyone ever. I would and do object to this action, it would be an infringement of my rights. Very sad if this happens my visits to Barbados will cease come to think of it I have never been to mauritius .

  19. betty waterman February 16, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Are we going to fingerprint children as welll is this leagal and what will we compare the prints too if people have never been in trouble before what about peoples human rights how will this information be stored .

  20. Jasper clarke February 16, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Why are the diplomats exempted

  21. Privacy February 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    This is absurd! They want to collect personal information about people, just to “move with the times”…? Hope people will stand up for their privacy rights and boycott this.

  22. Mature February 16, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    u guys are not admitting to the slow A&&&& ppl that work in the airport already and they suck a&&&&& attitude – adding this step not only give them already high and mighty just a lil bit more unneeded attitude – molasses slow !! why not the diplomats , u ask somebody got to bring the illegal stuff in without repercussions

  23. Sonja Forde February 16, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Diplomats should not be exempted and also along with all the changes according to the American guide lines, how about installing some cameras so that like America, you can keep an eye on everyone else’s habits……..for example, our airport staff and their behaviors rather good or bad. That would be nice!

  24. Rob February 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Why are Diplomats exempted??? Are diplomats incapable of doing crime?

  25. JayTee February 16, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    I posted a comment this morning, but I guess it might have been a bit ‘controversial’, and so it is not posted.
    I’m still waiting to be fingerprinted here in Canada, and also the USA.
    Why is this being implemented? Do the departments have the full technology to store the thousands of prints etc? I doubt it very much.
    Must be a ‘show off ‘ ting, or someone once again got a handsome pay out for this.

    • Bajan Adam February 16, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Are you serious. for years we have been fingerprinted and photo scanned in the USA at the first point of entry.
      Maybe you have a green card.
      I say, protect our borders, what is there to be scared about. Tourist or no tourist, we will survive.

  26. Chris February 16, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    We travel to other people countries and abide by their immigration laws. If yo I feel that these measures are drastic you should stay away from Batbados.

  27. Sandy February 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Its good that Bim want to get in line with the USA, it seems it’s always what the US does, but b4 jumping the gun, why not start with cleaning up the gun problems along with the drugs that is killing Barbados youth and so forth. I travel all the time never got finger printed, if the scanners are doing the job why subject ppl to that other process. seems like overkill.

  28. anderson greenidge February 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    come to ny mitch j. it,s compulsory.before they had the scanning machines you had to be it faster with the machines. if the machine gives an x you go to specified line,other wise they take the blue form and let you go on

  29. Saundra February 16, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Freedom of speech,obviously, does not apply to this site!

  30. reginald D. February 16, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    If your doing this DON’T LEAVE OUT ANYONE, ESPECIALLY MP’S and Diplomats; no exceptions.

  31. Anon February 16, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    I’ve travelled to both London and Canada in the last 4 years. Both of these major cities never asked for my fingerprints, so what major international law is this that they are implementing here? And what impact will it really have on crime in Barbados when we don’t even have a proper forensics team? Build, stock and employ person for a goo lab first then go and do all this rigmarole.

  32. Cecil P February 16, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    seriously because u don’t want to be fingerprinted u want return to BIN who cares. if u don’t have nothing to hide what’s the big deal. it may stop all of those criminals from bringing drugs into the country especially from u know where I’m not call names. I’m all for it they can fingerprint me anytime they want even if I’m driving through the country side and they want to stop me and do I would say go for because i’m clean . from the north pole

  33. Albert February 17, 2016 at 12:05 am

    @Mitch J Willing to bet that this new Port Entry system was proposed and will be funded and implemented by either the US or UK Governments and their contractors. The smart money would be on the UK – Barbados is not termed “Little England” for nothing.

    I’m yet to hear a clear explanation as to how fingerprinting “enhances security” or will “help prevent terrorism”. The usual justifications trotted out.

    Barbados as a soverign country is of course free to introduce whatever entry requirements it wishes.

  34. bootsa February 17, 2016 at 2:38 am

    People need to obey the law, Barbados needs to keep up with the changes and create a safe environment at the Airport. If people are free and clear of crime it is good for the island. This is a good start for change and should be implemented as soon as possible. Good move and I hope all who oppose get the act together soon. Yes all other countries have some form of prevention strategy in place why not Barbados.

  35. Jennifer Graham-Holder February 17, 2016 at 8:01 am

    This is happening in the United States, and other countries around the world, including Brazil. This is the new normal. We live in a time, where air travel is making the world smaller. Criminals or terrorist can and will any port to get their objective completed. With, crime increasing on the beautiful island of Barbados, is also decreasing the tourism more. I rather it to be an inconvenience now than have it be a problem later. You have an underpaid police force, that needs all the assistance, in keeping crime down. The other island will be implementing this procedure too. FYI, EU and the United States codes its airports around the world for its safety procedures. With these codes, it determines if you need extra screening when you enter into these countries. Ask individuals coming in from Columbia. Everyone feels they are a law abiding citizen. How can you tell who is and who isn’t, just because you say so? This can also keep track of illegal aliens staying longer than their visa or visits are permitted.

  36. Richard February 17, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Those people that are saying they are not fingerprinted when they arrive in the US probably jumped out of the aircraft before it landed

  37. Diane February 17, 2016 at 10:04 am

    The wait times are long enough when you arrive at BGI and I don’t see how this will help with preventing crime. I am a frequent visitor to the island and find this ridiculous. I have never been to a country where I was fingerprinted. Living in Western Canada close to the US border I have crossed many, many time into the States and never been fingerprinted. You are fingerprinted when you are suspected of a crime. I see this as a violation of my human rights but more than that the thought of longer waits to get through BGI immigration is an ugly thought. Spend the money on grass roots policing of the island or better x-ray technology for luggage.

  38. Bajanslims February 17, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Good old Bim! I will help you take those prints for no pay..Clean out all who do wrong and running there to hide.

  39. Karen February 17, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    This is typical of Barbados – always trying to run before it can walk. Fix the long immigration queues at the airport and the terrible attitude of officers before implementing yet another unncessary delay that will only make travellers and airport staff more irate.

    As for the ‘it’s already in the US’ argument – so are lots of things like mass shootings and rampant obesity – do we want those too? I live in the UK and they don’t do it here so it’s obviously not a necessary security measure.

    Also, I was living on the island when this was suggested before and the problem was more what happens to the data after it is collected. What can you do if your fingerprint turns up at a crime scene and you have no alibi – plead innocence lol – you’ll be sent down to Dodds before you can blink. How are the prints going to be stored and who will have access to them? Will they be kept forever or deleted once the person has left the island?

    These questions should be answered (along with many others) before any such system is implemented but like most of the ‘policies’ brought in, in Bim I doubt the people will be given any answers because the politicians have forgotten that they are public servants and the public are too passive like sheep!

  40. maygargrouse February 17, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    People need to obey the laws of this country Barbados and people have to learn to accept changes I took a trip to the U,S.A in the year 2013 and I was fingerprinted I didn’t feel any way because that is the law of the U.S.A for all those people who say that they would not return who cares those people must have some thing to hide the law is the law take it or leave it

  41. Trijntje Bagmeijer February 17, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    I have no problem with this at all it is for every ones safety
    . if it takes a little longer so be it I told a lady on Monday who was huffing and puffing relax you are in Barbados now we have 2 speeds slow and stop chill out like it’s my home but only wishing

  42. Los from DC February 18, 2016 at 2:24 am

    People of Barbados ,please note there are a couple of issues not explained well. Having traveled around the world, I am not aware of another nation that applies these actions to “departures”. Note that all of the comparisons of how this works in the USA or England only address entry actions.
    1.Why is this being done for departures?
    2.Given the application to “ports of entry”, am I to understand that people coming to board a cruise ship will have the proposed actions done four times?
    3. Is it proposed that the will be some increase in personnel to properly staff this. Long and slow lines will result in negative press about visiting the island.
    4, this process will create a system of records and thus raise my major concerns such as how long are my related actions being kept? Are hey going to be destroyed and when? Are they being shared with another entity such as Interpol? Can I access the data?

  43. Jay February 18, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Well guess44 maybe because you live in Canada you’re not fingerprinted but you will if you come to Barbados and that’s the way it is when those so call big countries implement something you don’t complain you comply….. So if you front come somebody else will you people need to stop

    • Jay February 18, 2016 at 7:53 am



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