February 17, 2016 -
In an effort to bring Barbados in line with other international ports of entry, the country’s immigration department announced this week that, starting in April, anyone entering or exiting Barbados will have to be fingerprinted and, according to Chief Immigration Officer Erine Griffith, the department will also introduce facial recognition later this year.
The only exemptions to the new regulations will be for diplomatic passport holders and children under 16.
Griffith explained that the security measures are mandatory under the Immigration (Biometrics) Regulation 2015.
According to a report in Barbados Today, top tourism, law enforcement and union officials have welcomed the plan by the immigration authorities to initiate a biometrics backed entry and exit program at the island’s ports of entry.
The Royal Barbados Police Force said it was long overdue and Hugh Riley, the Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization also commented that border security was paramount.
“I think the protection and securing of national borders is a priority that all countries have and so that is something to be admired and respected and the citizens of Barbados and any other country that is paying close attention to the protection of its borders are no doubt grateful for those kinds of things,” said Riley.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Organization Sue Springer also told Barbados Today that she saw no reason for anyone to object to the move as fingerprinting of arriving passengers is done at almost all other international airports. “It just means that Barbados is making sure the security aspect is maintained. And as long as everybody is trained and there is a system put in place then there shouldn’t be any more hold-up than there is at any other international airport.”
The National Union of Public Workers also pledged its support to the government’s fingerprint and facial recognition plan.