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The fight is not over – Marshall

The Supreme Court decision against Government’s controversial plan to fingerprint Barbadians leaving and entering the country has been described as comforting by one of the biggest opponents of the planned move.

Former Attorney General Dale Marshall told Barbados TODAY Thursday evening he was delighted at the court’s judgment which deemed the Immigration (Biometric) Regulations 2015 “null and void” and “unconstitutional”.

In February this year, Government announced plans to fingerprint all arriving and departing passengers at ports of entry here as of April 1, with the exception of children and diplomats.

The announcement was met with immediate rejection from some sections of society, including attorney-at-law and social activist David Comissiong, who filed a legal challenge back in March.

Following today’s proceedings, which were heard in chambers by Madam Justice Pamela Beckles after Government failed to file a defence within the required 28 days, Comissiong told reporters he was not surprised at the ruling.

Commenting on the outcome, Marshall told Barbados TODAY he wished it had not gone to court and that Government had listened to residents and shelved the plan.

“That being said, it is a comfort for me as a Barbadian that law courts are there to serve us. In many respects we have challenges with our judicial system in terms of delays and so on, and I am happy that this particular matter has gone to court and has been dealt with, with the kind of dispatch that it deserves,” Marshall said.

However, the former Attorney General warned Barbadians not to see the court’s ruling as “an all out victory”, since the Freundel Stuart administration could try again.

“The court has ruled that these regulations are to be struck down. I believe it was on procedural grounds so it then would leave it open for the Government to do it ‘the right way’ next time. So we may still be in the same place in another two months or three months. So I hope that Barbadians will not see this as an all out victory,” Marshall told Barbados TODAY.

“I think we have to prepare ourselves to fight with Government on this issue because from hearing them speak they were resolute they were going to be introducing fingerprinting. Therefore the fight is not over yet. This is the first skirmish. I fully anticipate that they will come again and try to, well this time they will follow the correct procedure and try to enact the same regulations,” he warned.

Stressing that he was not fully apprised of the judge’s ruling, Marshall said he suspected it was done on “procedural objections and not necessarily substantive objections”.

“If that is correct, if the Government tries to introduce it [again, it] is still open to objectors to file a new application to the court, this time on the basis of constitutional motion and also challenging the regulations for conflicting with our international human rights obligation. So it is still open to a further challenge,” the attorney-at-law observed.

“I honestly fear that the Government will find another way to reintroduce this measure. Certainly listening to the Prime Minister and other ministers of Government speaking in Parliament it was clear to me that they were adamant that they were going to go in this direction no matter what,” he added.

3 Responses to The fight is not over – Marshall

  1. BaJan boy July 1, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Well Barbadians will have a choice whether to sit and allow these to foist this nonsense on them or get rid of them and that once and for all. Lucky it didn’t go before the CJ where it would have been adjourned Sine die…

  2. RC July 1, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Which public? What are people scared of? When criminals arrive on the island undetected and rob, murder, rip off ATM’s and other crimes then some of you folks will see the value of finger printing and other deterents.

  3. Tony Waterman July 2, 2016 at 1:31 am

    @RC!!!! although you seem to have at least go a part of it Correct, you at the same time hava COMPLETELY misse the Crux of the Matter.
    NO ONE that has had their say on this Issue,has NEVER been against using Biometrics to ascertain the TRUE Identity of Persons Visiting Barbados, what EVERYONE seems to be against, is FNGERPRINTING of Barbadian Citizens, everytime they Depart and re-enter their COUNTRY OF BIRTH, the COUNTRY that they are LEGAL Citizens of.
    Look at your Statement, Quote””When criminals arrive on the island undetected and rob, murder, rip off ATM’s and other crimes then some of you folks will see the value of finger printing and other deterents.””End Quote.
    Absolutely, i agree with you, and i am sure that ALL Law Abiding Barbadians agree with you also, But as far as i can remember, the people/Persons who were Committing those Crimes were From, England, Germany, Poland, Hungary, etc., NONE, NONE were from Barbados, so i guess that we would Fingerprint the bajans and let the Foreigners come and go as they please ????.

    Now!!!! lets say that this Pln had worked, and that you had left Barbados 20 times in the Year, then an Officer from BRA shows up at your door, and tells you that becauseyou had so much money to Travel so much that there was a 2500.00 tax for that, would you still be having that same opinion on the value of Finger printing ??? becuse that would be where they would have known how many times you had Travelled. that information can and could, and would be used for more than National Security.

    The Government irregardless of that Court Decision still use Biometrics at the Ports of Entry, because that Court decision does NOT prohibit them from finger printing Visitors, which i see as quite antiquated as against the Technology that is in use Today, and which Barbados now has, ALL New issues of Barbados Passports are Biometrically setup, and can now be Machine Scanned, if they were/are manufactured to be read Internationally, then we only need a Database to match the Passports to and Volia!!!!we are in Business.

    with an international database in Place anyone who arrives in Barbados and a scan of their Passport shows different Informatios than the Database then it’s “Houston, we have a Problem” .

    and the Machines will also read Bajan Passports (Not Illegal) this way a Stolen Barbados Passport will show up as the Picture and Information of the Legal owner CANNOT be Changed in a Biometric Passport. that to me would be a win win.

    @RC!!!! there is NO need to Fingerprint your Citizens, We have very Short memories, but if you look back at World History between 1939-1945, Hitler did something very Similar to Millions of Europens (German) Jews, he Tattooed them all with a Registration Number, not much different from What the Barbadian Government of Today is proposing.

    Just Remember This said by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984):-

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    I am not the Biggest Supporter of David Comissiong, but because of this action that he took, They won’t be able to come for me as someone had spoken for me, and in fact, for ALL of us.


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