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Fingerprinting Barbadians is madness – Franklyn

Complete madness was how trade union leader Caswell Franklyn described new immigration regulations announced this week that require passengers using the island’s ports of entry to be fingerprinted from April 1.

In announcing the new measure in a Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) release, Chief Immigration Officer Erine Griffith said the only exemptions would be children under the age of 16 and persons holding diplomatic passports.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY this evening, Franklyn, the General Secretary of the Unity Workers Union said he was not opposed to visitors being fingerprinted upon entry. However, he had a serious issue with the fact that Barbadians were being forced to do so.

“I am a Barbadian. I have a right to come to Barbados without any hindrance. Nobody should be bothering me and giving me any conditions for me to come into Barbados.

“If you put that in place for visitors, go right ahead. They want to come to Barbados and in order for them to get into Barbados they have to accept the conditions for coming here; but I have a right to come to Barbados without any hindrance whatsoever. No person should be asking me to put my fingerprint anyplace,” he insisted.

“Suppose I said, ‘no, that I am not offering my fingerprint’, what are you going to do to me? I am a Barbadian and you cannot put me out of Barbados. This is complete madness.”

Franklyn also said he was concerned that his fingerprints may not be secure in a database, and questioned where such sensitive data would be stored.

The new requirements have also troubled social activist and attorney-at-law David Comissiong, who has written to Griffith and the Minister responsible for Immigration in the Prime Minister’s Office Senator Darcy Boyce demanding a written explanation.

“Please provide me with a clear written explanation as to why you consider it necessary or appropriate that I, a Barbadian citizen, should be fingerprinted when I leave Barbados and also when I attempt to return to Barbados,” Comissiong said in the letter dated February 18, 2016, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY.   

The activist reminded the Freundel Stuart administration that the practice of fingerprinting persons had been associated with the procedure that persons charged with criminal offences were required to undergo.

He questioned whether the decision to require Barbadians to be subjected to fingerprinting when they travel from or to their own country was made by the Minister responsible for Immigration or by the Chief Immigration Officer.

Comissiong reminded both officials that since the BGIS release quoted the Chief Immigration Officer as stating that “these security measures were mandatory under the Immigration (Biometrics) Regulation 2015” he wanted clarification on when the regulation was enacted in Barbados and “precisely who made or enacted said regulation.”

He asked that his request be treated as an urgent matter in keeping with the terms of the Administrative Justice Act and any statement of reason for the decision should be forwarded to him in a reasonable time.

He warned the two Government officials that in light of the fact that the matter affected not only himself but “all of the other citizens of Barbados”, he intended to share the contents of the two pieces of correspondence with the national community through the news media.

15 Responses to Fingerprinting Barbadians is madness – Franklyn

  1. Ms joan February 20, 2016 at 6:40 am

    This is nonsense. Don’t you know they started this crap in a govt corporation finger printing the staff for time and attendance. The union did nothing

  2. Sheena Sunshine
    Sheena Sunshine February 20, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Why? When we bajans travel you have NO choice but to do what immigration ask you to in other ports of entry so stop the crap

  3. Mac10 February 20, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Interesting that customs etc are happy to fingerprint every traveller but not willing to have camera’s installed in the airport to monitor their own actions

    • Vernon Chandler February 20, 2016 at 11:22 pm

      ROTFL So true!!

  4. dave February 20, 2016 at 11:25 am

    How Customs get in ? Mac10 ?

  5. TrinityIsStillMyName February 20, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Immigration is doing the fingerprinting. Customs has the problem with the cameras. Two entities with different mandates.
    No sweat. But I just wondering… so how come nobody has a problem with their photo being taken by the ATM machines as the users transact their business. Just wondering.

    I personally don’t have a problem with camera and fingerprints in general. This is due to the direction the world has taken. I am sure uncle Sam has my prints and some X rated pics.

  6. Adrian. Odle February 20, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    I have to agree with Mr. Franklyn. I question the merit of having citizens fingerprinted to enter an leave their home. This needs rethinking. I am not aware that other countries require this of its citizens.

  7. a b February 20, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    MAC please go back and read before u say something customs dont need that immigation need it and if u travel to tha usa u will and i say will have to do it bajan dont like change that why the country cant move forward

  8. Basil Graham February 21, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Not Customs, this matter is all Immigration.

  9. Craige Campbell February 21, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Well they wont be fingerprinting our parasite class, in ferdinand our charles

  10. Rose Jones February 21, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    What nonsense is this? There is absolutely no need for Barbados to fingerprint visitors or returning nationals. Not even the US does that. This is a ludicrous idea. If no one is accused of a crime, why on earth would anyone need to be fingerprinted? Does Barbados have resources to devote to this? Where is all this data going to be stored and how will it be secured? What is the purpose of having the fingerprints? The immigration lines are already long enough and now people are going to have to wait longer in line to be fingerprinted? Tourists don’t have to stand for this nonsense. They can spend their monies elsewhere, in more inviting and visitor-friendly places. Barbados is just shooting itself in the foot. I think it would make much more sense to spend those resources on preventing and containing crime in Barbados.

  11. Chris Wright February 21, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    I am waiting to see how this is going to impact the number of tourists who would object to this inconvenience and choose other ports of call on their itinerary.
    Very often these actions tend to exclude the real perpetrators and inconvenience the innocent, it’s just window dressing for crime prevention.

  12. Douglas Holland February 21, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    If the policy is described accurately, that all incoming persons at ports of entry will be fingerprinted, it seems wrong-headed, both for Barbadians and tourists. The article addresses the issue for Barbadians. I would add that it will negatively impact tourism; because of the association that people have with only convicted criminals (or persons seeking high level security clearance) being fingerprinted in their home countries, many visitors will feel they are being treated like criminals. What is to be gained by Barbados? Compliance with a well known country’s request?? How often does the RBPF even take fingerprints at crime scenes? What is to be lost? Over 40% of Barbados’ economy depends upon tourism, and upon repeat visitors (around 40%), more than is the case for most countries. Many tourists won’t like it and won’t return.

  13. richard February 22, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Because fingerprints are a piece of personally identifiable information, which you can’t change. As such, they are wide open to abuse, to the most dystopian styles of personal tracking. They are also relatively easy to fake, and you leave them everywhere, meaning that if fingerprints were generally accepted as an identification mechanism, it’d become really easy for someone with a grudge against you to cause you trouble.
    Finally, that’s the wrong question to ask. The right question is: Why do these airports (or these governments?) believe they specifically need this information, and why is this more important than my personal wish not to be treated as a criminal, to retain privacy and make it harder for governments to track me, to not want to live in a panopticon surveillance society? (Humans have a psychological need for privacy; not everyone experiences this as strongly as everyone else, but feeling observed non-stop has been shown to have drastically detrimental effects on people’s psychological well-being.) Handwaving about “security” doesn’t cut it as an answer, because fingerprinting doesn’t actually help with that in any way. The only thing the fingerprints help with is potentially tracking visitors going forward.

  14. richard February 22, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    I am not a Bajan, but i have visited 9 times in 9 years. I have made friends that have become family. It is unfortunate (and the Barbados Government will see) that visitors don’t want to be treated like criminals, and yes fingerprinting is 100% associated with criminal activity. They, (Tourists WITH ALL KINDS OF MONEY TO SPEND) will go elsewhere… St Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica etc. What then? Barbados is not the only destination for us, and It will be in dire straights if you don’t have the tourists visiting. its not right for Bajans, and not right for tourists. when will we see a Government stand up for their people and not their money


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