‘The buck stops here!’ – Minister pledges to end ‘discriminatory’ practices at immigration department

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By Machela Osagboro

CARICOM nationals who feel they have experienced discrimination at the hands of immigration officers are being urged to report it directly to the minister in charge.

Immigration Minister EP Chet Greene said yesterday in his budget debate that those who feel they have been mistreated should seek redress through the correct channels.

“Anytime you go to the immigration department and you confront or are confronted by any member of staff who treats you in that kind of fashion, be sure to take their name and report them to me.

“Not to the chief – to me!” he said.

According to the minister, the reports that he has been getting have been alarming, with some claiming they have been told to “go back to where they come from”. 

Greene said discrimination against CARICOM nationals at the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Immigration would not be tolerated – and he threatened to deal harshly with any officers who indulge in such practice against people seeking services there.

He said it was imperative that officers have a professional image and better regard for customer service. “We demand nothing but superlative services to those who come to the department,” the minister said.

Greene went on to say that harsh measures would be brought against officers who think it is their duty is to, “berate and insult those persons who come to the department for services”.

In his impassioned speech, Greene vehemently stated that the nation’s laws are set out to protect those who are legally living and working withing the country, irrespective of where they are from or the colour of their skin.

Greene added that workers who cannot abide by customer service rules are unfit to be officers within the national security fabric and will not merely be re-assigned to serve in other areas of government but will be terminated.

“It won’t be a simple case of rotation to another department; it’s a case of stamping out that kind of ugly behaviour,” he vowed.

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  1. Chet, normal protocol suggest that complaints be handled in house by supervisors or head of department, because the department falls under your portfolio doesn’t qualify you to be able to resolve the issue apporpiately

  2. Mr Green, good effective leaders, do not run to the public with threats and innuendos. They address the people involved and explain the clear and precise policies that should be followed by all employees. Your methods of correcting these practices of which you speak are unbecoming of the Minister who is totally in charge of the department.

  3. In as much as Tiny Web and Outside Looking In do make valid points,the article seems to suggest that since
    the supervisor of the immigration department isn’t addressing the above-mentioned complaints,one has to presume that by asking individuals who suffer such indignities to bring him the name(s) of the offending
    officer(s),Minister Green will then summon said officer(s) to his office and find out if thus and thus did happen,whether or not said incident was written up and most impoprtantly,what action,if any,was taken.If there is an established policy (protocol) as to how officers should professionally discharge their duties & responsibilities
    as they relate to matters of immigration and they are not being adhered to,then Minister Green will have to take disciplinary action to address the problem before it gets out of hand.Write up the offending officers and post a copy of said letter within their personnel file.

    • I am an Antiguan by birth, well acquainted with the Labor Code and its grievance procedure, has challenged and won several matters from the Industrial Court to the West Indies Court of Appeal . The Immigration department, Customs and Excise and The Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force are similar entities, so just as the Police Commissioner or the Collector of Customs handles issues relevant to the Department, likewise should Immigration


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