Passports and Immigration Department stage border security workshop
Recognizing that the role of securing the borders of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a pivotal duty
for Immigration officers, the Passports and Immigration Department has moved to ensure that its
workers are properly equipped to handle the task.
Two this end the department commenced on Tuesday March 5 th 2019, a two-day border security
workshop under the theme: “Forging Ahead with Determination.
Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Beverly Walker in her remarks pointed out that one of the
mandates of the Passports and Immigration Department is that of “continual training of its’
officers.” The (Ag.) Chief Immigration Officer revealed that the job of an immigration officer
entails, “the processing and issuing of travel documents, facilitation of bonafide travellers to and
from this country and the enforcement of the immigration laws.”
The Ag. Chief Immigration Officer urged participants “to maximise the opportunity to improve
effectiveness on the job” and stressed that issues relating to border security frequently arise and
therefore emphasised the need for “constant re-tooling and re-fitting with pertinent information and
skills to solidify performance on the job.”
Walker took the opportunity to outline the strides made by the Passports and Immigration
Department over the years, regarding the production of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines passport
which include: moving pass the issuing of manual and machine readable passports and meeting the
standards that were stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Walker
noted that since 2014 the Passports and Immigration Department have been issuing Electronic or
“E” passports making St. Vincent and the Grenadines the second country within Caricom to issue
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in his address indicated that the process of issuing
passports here is done at a very high standard and noted that many countries are not yet at this stage
of service delivery. The Prime Minister however noted that the nature of this job is complicated
and stressed that training is necessary, Dr. Gonsalves added that awareness of the laws and
regulations which govern the Passports and Immigration department is essential in executing tasks
Encouraging officers to be cognisant of the ever “changing cultural landscape” in the environment
the Prime Minister expressed much interest in improving the technologies,” and noted that being
competitive means adopting a level of efficiency which is costly.
Prime Minister Gonsalves told participants the wellbeing of their families and this country are
intrinsically woven into their line of duty, since the delivery of an excellent service is vital to
encourage tourists to return to this country; which ultimately boosts the Tourism product. He
encouraged officers to further their studies noting that resources or forms of assistance are available
to pursue various programmes.
The Passports and Immigration Department’s workshop is geared at senior and middle level
Immigration Officers with the task of supervising junior officers and facilitating their growth.
Topics down for discussion included: human-trafficking, CARICOM, interviewing techniques,
leadership, legal documents and customer service among others.