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Border Management System being underutilised

- Immigration Officers reluctant to use software due to kinks in system
Chief Immigration Officer, Dennis Jennings. Photo: GIS
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Yet another questionable revelation has emerged from the 2011 annual report of the Immigration Department. The report, which was laid before the House of Assembly on July 24, 2012, revealed this time that the enTRex Border Management System (eBMS) is being completely underutilised by immigration officers, in large part due to varying deficiencies in the system.

In the report, it was revealed by Chief Immigration Officer Dennis Jennings, that the present state of the enTRex system is functional with minor inconsistencies in relation to connectivity and physical conditions in some locations. This however, he noted, did not explain the major problem of the reluctance by most officers to utilize the equipment. He asserted that there is “no way to properly assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Border Management system unless all parties involved carry out their required functions.”

“In this era,” he continued “and I think it is safe to say, those to come, the use of technology is vital to enhance the human resources in terms of storing and retrieving of information readily.” He further stated that “the winds of change and inventions in every sense are occurring at such rapid pace that unless we use technology very little or nothing can be done to protect our borders.”

In the report, it was noted that “Once all ports are utilizing the system to process entry then the exit by manifest method will alleviate the problems faced by the department due to lack of staffing.” With the use of the eMBS, any individual who departed before apprehension by the department could be flagged and subsequent action taken against them should they try to re-enter the Territory.

While suggesting the need for technical adjustments which were due to some aspects of the actual enTRex software being poorly designed as a result of specifications sent at the time to the manufacturers by the Department, Jennings countered that the application was already functioning; he went further in saying that “now all changes must go through a phase of research and development before they are implemented.”

Training of officers in use of the system

The enTrex system, the Chief Immigration Officer stated “will be upgraded as funds are available and officers will be required to constantly undergo training in order to meet, maintain and exceed the required competence levels.”

There was also a proposed initiative of a temporary project to input the departmental entry permit records into the enTRex Database. He stressed that this “would entail the temporary hiring of 3 capable individuals to enter all the departments entry permit and residency records. After the individuals should be retained to maintain departmental records as day to day processing is done.”

This initiative is geared towards better management of information and electronic record keeping which will eliminate the need for the actual subject file to be pulled at every instance when minimal information is required.

This, the report continued, allows for a more proactive enforcement initiative as individuals who fail to renew entry permits can be identified and approached in the initial stages, as such eliminating the freelancing which often happens when individuals do not have gainful employment at the expiration of entry permits.

The eBMS was reintroduced by the Immigration Department at ports of entry across the Territory in December of 2005. According to former acting Chief Immigration Officer Mr. Malvern Brathwaite, Entrex is a computerised electronic border management tool for the processing of persons travelling to and from the British Virgin Islands. Among other things, he added, the system would make pertinent passenger data readily available with the benefit of speeding up the processing of repeat visitors and tracking persons who are deemed undesirable based on the Immigration Ordinance.

12 Responses to “Border Management System being underutilised”

  • polo (08/08/2012, 10:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    so that why we can not track these people over staying them time?
    • Lies & Mo Lies (08/08/2012, 12:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The system plain out does NOT and did NOT work from the start, a waste of the Governments money..
  • ccc (08/08/2012, 14:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    maybe staff are not train to use
  • dead duck (08/08/2012, 15:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    some body got paid for a system that they know would not be used
    • to dead duck (08/08/2012, 23:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      you are so right.... we are always being bamboseled 1st immigration then customs
      • parole buddy (09/08/2012, 12:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Sometimes you all should check your facts before you type s***. The system is used worlwide as a matter of fact it is the same system that is used by US Immigration. Yes thats the same system that is used in St Thomas and Puerto Rico. From the beginning the immigration officers have put up stiff resistence to the software because it requires the user to type in certain information. That is the same system that the US use to catch criminals who try to run from the law. Dead beat dads, child molesters, depotees, and other were caught with the help of that software. The immigration dept have a stste of the art software they just have idiots working there.
  • ? (08/08/2012, 20:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    According to the Immigration Department website http://www.bviimmigration.gov.vg/News/news01-12152005.aspx a consultant from “3-M Canada ,” the company responsible for supplying and maintaining the Entrex border control system assisted the Immigration Department in relieving any challenges that might arise, amid the reintroduction of the Entrex system. So what is the real problem? Does this sytem still have challenges or not?
    • the cat mother (09/08/2012, 01:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      All that talk is about system not working is no surprise as it was done by another expat company so where are the NDP cowbirds? All this mumbo-jumbo talk about the company correct the situation is another talk shop….but it is still not working according to the report!!! What BVI people and government departments nee to do is to think for themselves.
      • .... (09/08/2012, 15:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Can't the Immigration Department get an immigration officer and someone from ISU to work with the Canadian company to iron out the problems? Why settle for a waste of the tax payer's money and not seek to at least get it functional.
        • hmm (09/08/2012, 23:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          I totally agree. The officer who runs the system at the department does not even have a computer degree. They just try to help out, in return costing the department a whole heap of money ordering shit that he does not know about. In order for good productivity out of this system we need experienced personals who knows what to do. It will be something the system is not being utilized now and the runway is slated to be extended for more tourists.HMMMM what a ting!
  • lordy (09/08/2012, 14:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I worked in the Immigration Department for 10 plus years and the system is a waste of time. My question to the Government of the Virgin Islands is this how are you going to spend over a million dollars for a system and do not maintain or upgrade when necessary. This is our security we are talking about it should not have no cost measures when dealing with such. So having an argument now does not make no sense with a system being in place for over 10 yrs and it is not producing no valuable output. I agree that the USVI and Puerto Rico use the same system but they have one thing over us here in the Virgin Islands that is THEY DO MAINTAIN AND UPGRADE THEIR SYSTEM ON A DAILY BASIS which met the needs of officers(Immigration). We need to come out of the stone-age and into the 21st century. P.S Have an open forum with pass and present officers of the Department to hear their views about the entrex system but please don't please bring the P.S. waste of time.


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