COVID-19 & post-hurricane updates with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col Jeffrey Bostic – July 23, 2021. (PMO)

Strict penalties which carry hefty fines and a term of imprisonment will be meted out to individuals who present fraudulent PCR test results or vaccination certificates at the island’s ports of entry.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley sounded the warning this evening while speaking during a press conference to give updates on COVID-19 and post Hurricane Elsa recovery at Ilaro Court.

She revealed that some Barbadians had been getting the false certificates and this development had caused government to take action.

The Prime Minister said those caught trying to “dupe the system” by presenting false documents to any government official will be liable on conviction according to Directive 13, to a fine of $50,000 and a term of imprisonment of one year.

When separate legislation is taken to Parliament shortly, however, it will make provision for a fine of $100 000 and a two-year term of imprisonment.    

Ms. Mottley acknowledged that COVID-19 may be with us for a while and pointed out that the measures will also be also be included in immigration or health legislation as a result of the limited time period for the directives and to prevent persons from presenting false documents for other reasons.

She stated: “Those will be done initially in the directive to cover us immediately. But there will be separate legislation brought as well. For the avoidance of doubt even though the legislation gives the director the power of law. I say so because the Minister of Health has already spoken about this, and we take this very, very seriously.

The Prime Minister said those caught trying to “dupe the system” by presenting false documents to any government official will be liable on conviction according to Directive 13, to a fine of $50,000 and a term of imprisonment of one year. When separate legislation is taken to Parliament shortly, however, it will make provision for a fine of $100 000 and a two-year term of imprisonment.    

“And to that extent, we ask persons to note that if you feel that you’ve gotten past the airport or the seaport with a fraudulent certificate and you feel it is over don’t feel it is over, because there’s something called Post Entry Audit.

Ms. Mottley continued: “And we will do Post Entry Audits.  And if we find that you have given us a test result that the person or the lab from which it has come, cannot verify and cannot validate that you received a test or you received a vaccination, then my friends, it will be passed over to the right authorities for further action.”

The Prime Minister acknowledged that she has heard people say “oh, the people who were doing it were only just trying to get it done because they were late for the plane”. 

However, the PM warned that that it will be “the most costly delayed arrival at the airport that you will ever have in life” and suggested that vacationers pay the change of ticket fee and come another day with the correct test.

“We will do the Post Entry Audits, and that is why the Attorney General is here to assure us, and we will work with the relevant governments, whether it is the United States of America or the Canadian or the British or whoever we have to work with, to ensure that we can have access under our laws.

“We have treaty arrangements for mutual legal assistance with countries with whom we have relations, and we will use them. So I hope that everyone gets the message that it is not even cute to be presenting either false test results, or false vaccine certificates, the Prime Minister contended.”

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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