Immigration responsibilities, currently handled by Police Officers, will be shifted to the Customs and Excise Department, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has announced.
Chastanet has described the impending move as a “fundamental change.”
“Immigration Officers will no longer be policemen because we are looking to pass on that responsibility to Customs which will free up over one hundred policemen to come back onto the beat,” the Prime Minister told the Times.
Chastanet said instead of stamping passports, they will be “real” law enforcement officers for which they were trained.
The Prime Minister told the Times the move will be part of stepped up efforts to put criminals on the “back foot.”
He disclosed that a team is now in place coordinating the transition.
He said that Customs Officers have to be trained in their new responsibilities as Immigration Officers.
Chastanet also spoke of the need to get the cooperation of both entities involved.
However the Prime Minister told the Times that in principle, everyone agrees with the move.
“I am trying to get this done before the Christmas season,” he explained.
Chastanet told the Times there would be a lot of changes in terms of the management of the airports.
“We are going to make it much more fluid,” he said, adding that once Customs is performing the functions of Immigration Officers it would not cost the government extra money.