Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams, trying out one of the document magnifying readers while Chief Immigration Officer (Ag), Margaret Inniss, looks on. (T. Barker/BGIS)

The Barbados Immigration Department has received 25 document magnifying readers from the Federal Republic of Germany.

On hand to receive the equipment from German Liaison Officer, Stephan Kaldasch this morning were Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams, as well as Chief Immigration Officer (Ag), Margaret Inniss and CARICOM IMPACS, Executive Director (Ag), Lt. Col. Michael Jones.

Minister Abrahams, in expressing thanks for the document magnifying readers, stated: “I would like to thank our friends at IMPACS and also the Government of Germany for these devices that allow us to properly scan documents.  Passport fraud is a big issue the world over, Barbados has one of the most secure passports in the world; it’s a highly sought after passport.  We are in the process of changing our passport and sometime later this year, you will see the introduction of the new security enhanced Barbados passports. They are a sight to behold. 

 “But along with the new passports, there are a lot of enhanced security features, so this is a very, very timely gift.  So these could not have come at a better time for us as we are embarking on launching our new passport.  I look forward to the continued working relationship with IMPACS which is a critical partner in our border control and border protection and our security checks, and I also thank the Government of Germany.”

The Minister disclosed that later this month, officers from the Department are scheduled to meet with the suppliers of the new passports to do a final run and to verify all the security features for the new passports.

Chief Immigration Officer Inniss, speaking at the hand-over ceremony said: “We at the Barbados Immigration Department, we are grateful to have the pleasure of receiving gifts to the benefit of us doing due diligence and at the same time, we are grateful to CARICOM IMPACS, so that we continue to build relationships across the Region and the international markets, so that we can fully protect our borders and continue to do due diligence.”

Also expressing appreciation to the Government of Germany for the equipment donated was Lt. Col. Michael Jones, who noted that the “essential tools” donated would assist Barbados in strengthening its border protection measures. He noted that in addition to the Document Readers, training would be facilitated later in the year on EU Passports and Schengen Visa, not only in Barbados but also in other CARICOM Member States.

Following a demonstration which included inspecting a passport, Barbados currency and a Barbados driver’s licence by German Liaison Officer Mr. Kaldasch, Minister Abrahams described the document magnifying reader as “amazing”.

He remarked: “This donation has multiple features, is useful and timely for the Immigration Department, but its uses definitely do not stop there.  I want to thank you [Germany] again for this wonderful donation, which has multiple applications that we can use, not just in immigration, but across the spectrum and we will put it to good use, so thank you very much.”

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