Immigration Amendment Bill gives way for Advance Passenger Information

Grenada is moving to become part of the Advance Passenger Information system with other islands.

The Advance Passenger Information system is being made possible through the Immigration Amendment Bill which was tabled at a recent sitting in Parliament at the Grenada Trade Centre in Morne Rouge, St. George’s.

According to the bill, which was presented by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Legal Affairs, and Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, Elvin Nimrod, the Advance Passenger Information system will be required by occupants of aircrafts and vessels travelling within the region.

The amended bill seeks to improve the procedure to facilitate the provisions of Advance Passenger Information relating to passengers and members of crew of an aircraft or vessel and to share the information with other states with a view to indentifying persons considered as possible risk to security.

According to Nimrod, the intention of the bill is to ensure that all loopholes are closed so that the act of terrorism does not make its way into Grenada.

“Advance Passenger Information is really important, critical and important in terms of the safety of any nation. We ourselves here in Grenada, I can remember was so concerned about the necessity and importance of Advance Passenger Information – so much so that we complain several times that some of our nationals, Mr. Speaker who have travelled abroad and probably spend most of their lives in their countries abroad and commit crimes, Mr. Speaker and they are being deported back to us here in Grenada without any advance information”, he said.

“We do not know these persons, we cannot monitor them and before you know it, Mr. Speaker, they start repeating the crimes right here and the sad thing about it, we do not have the capacity, we do not have the resources Mr. Speaker to fight those terrible crimes as of course the larger country would have”, he added

The senior government minister told Parliament that a new approach is being taken to ensure that the information that is needed from passengers are obtained in advance of travel.“This Advance Passenger Information is extremely important as it relates to passengers and members of crew of an aircraft and a vessel and as we go along Mr. Speaker, we would see how tight this is when compared with the original principal act…”, he said.

“…Everything is being tightened and become much stricter Mr. Speaker and this is really the purpose of the bill to tighten it and strengthen it. When that information is collected, the essence of it all is to share it with other states Mr. Speaker with a view of actually determining or kind of what you might say detecting any persons who might be posing a risk to security and so Mr. Speaker, the current provision of the Immigration Act was inserted in the Act in 2007 by an amendment and of course Mr. Speaker, this present amendment is to update and to strengthen that amendment,” he remarked.

According to Nimrod who is the current Deputy Prime Minister of the country, the Advance Passenger Information system is a regional approach to travel and one to be adopted by different CARICOM Member States.

He said: “To date we have about five member states, Mr. Speaker who already pass legislation or adopt legislation to take on board the new approach…all the CARICOM (States) will join that effort – trying to provide greater security to all of us. Life has changed especially in the area of travel since (September 9-11(World Trade Center disaster in New York).

“It has become so burdensome and even with all this tightness and strictness, we hear daily on our radios and our television set, what is happening abroad. We want to make sure that we could strike this all out, not necessarily at one go because I don’t think it’s practical… but I think we can really overcome this business of terrorism,” he added.

Grenada also has in place an information sharing arrangement with the United States on money-laundering for possible terrorist activities.

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