Barbados’ immigration policy and the performance of the Immigration Department will be pivotal to the growth and development of the island over the next five to 10 years.
This was outlined by Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams, as he addressed the opening ceremony of an Institutional Strengthening Clinic for officers of the Barbados Immigration Department recently.
He added that the staff of the department and the skill sets they possessed would be driven by the performance of the department which is now viewed as the most “critical department” for the advancement and development of Barbados.
Mr. Abrahams stated that Barbados was at a pivotal point with immigration-related matters, with the new Immigration Act and new Citizenship Act now in the final stages.
He noted that he intended to share the documents with staff of the department to invite comments. The Minister acknowledged that staff at the Immigration Department had a unique advantage as they were the ones who saw what was needed and brought the necessary human resources to Barbados.
He said: “You are the ones dealing with the issues we confront daily. You know what is going on and what should be done. You know if a policy is not working, and if there needs to be a change in something. You know it because you see it all the time. Do not be afraid to make suggestions because we are all shareholders and want it to succeed.”
The Minister urged the officers to take advantage of training opportunities as they could aid those who participate in moving onto the next level, while also increasing their knowledge-base.
Meanwhile, acting Chief Immigration Officer, Margaret Inniss, explained that the department faced a number of institutional deficits over the last five years with the loss of 15 officers “for one reason or another”.
“We lost institutional knowledge because there is no succession plan in place. Nothing is in place to really retain knowledge as people go home,” she said.
However, she noted that the Institutional Strengthening Clinic was designed to reshape and retool the Immigration Department and Barbados as a whole.
“In this Clinic, we will diagnose what is required to take us to the next level. We will give you the tools required to take Barbados [and the] Immigration Department to the next level,” said Ms. Inniss.
The Clinic will be conducted once weekly over the next six weeks, with officers receiving training in legislation, policy, emotional intelligence, professional career development and border security. Participants will each receive a certificate on completion of the course.
Barbados Immigration Department Critical To Development