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Concerns raised over treatment of visitors, residents by “some” Immigration Officers

- Legislators call for courteous behavior by officers
The treatment of visitors and residents by some Immigration Officers is a concern for legislators who asked for visitors to receive courteous treatment.
Chief Immigration Officer Dennis Jennings said officers do receive regular training and complaints can be lodged at the Premier's Office, the Immigration Department and the Complaints Commissioner. Photo GIS
Chief Immigration Officer Dennis Jennings said officers do receive regular training and complaints can be lodged at the Premier's Office, the Immigration Department and the Complaints Commissioner. Photo GIS
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - The discourteous treatment of visitors and residents by certain immigration officers was a concern expressed by members of the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) with members calling for persons to be treated courteously when entering the Territory.

During the 2012 SFC deliberations, Territorial Member Hon. Archibald Christian said he was surprised when he saw how certain Immigration Officers treated visitors and residents when they entered the Territory.

Christian said after persons have travelled for many hours and they arrived at the Territory’s ports, they should be treated courteously by front line persons.

He even suggested that officers should assist persons when Immigration forms are not completed correctly. Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) Dennis Jennings also concurred that when persons incorrectly fill out the forms, Immigration Officers should give assistance.

Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron Walwyn stated that the Immigration Department carries out a very important function for being the first contact with visitors. Hon. Walwyn also agreed that the Virgin Islands needed to ensure that persons are treated courteously when they arrive in the Territory.

He further told the SFC that in certain places, promises of what customers ought to expect are printed to remind the Immigration Officers of their responsibility.

He said he has received some complaints of how some persons are treated by Immigration Officers.

Leader of the Opposition Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal OBE, said while he realized there are problems at the ports of entry, it is sometimes caused by persons who did not wish to follow the law. However, he said he also knows what it is to travel for 24 hours and to be treated discourteously.

Meanwhile, Hon. Christian enquired about the protocol for dealing with complaints to which Mr. Jennings explained that the public could lodge complaints with the Premier’s Office, the Immigration Department or the Complaints Commissioner.

Jennings further told the members of the SFC that he ensures the officers fully cooperate when complaints are made. However, there was no specific written procedure for dealing with complaints.

Regarding training for Immigration Officers, the CIO said they receive regular training and a staff member from the BVI Tourist Board and an official from Bahamas have also conducted training for officers.

8 Responses to “Concerns raised over treatment of visitors, residents by “some” Immigration Officers ”

  • pressure (06/04/2012, 11:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    yea Uncle Ralph let them follow the law Myron always finding excuses for island people...BAM
  • rock city (06/04/2012, 12:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    But when they go st thomas and are treated like dogs how come they do not compliant? Set of two faced cowbirds
    • say i told you (06/04/2012, 17:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      same thing me say they go down to st. Thomas and you never hear a pin drop from these tola people
  • TOXIC (06/04/2012, 12:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    courtesy training from a bahamian, not a good idea.
  • Virgin Gorda Massive (06/04/2012, 15:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    they treat every body the same... "BAD" they should put Janis to head that dept instead of the BVITB my two cents
  • The Visitor (07/04/2012, 09:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I have to say that after more than 40 arrivals over the last 10 years I have never been treated discourtesy but there is a definite lack of enthusiasm among many of the immigrations officers. It does not make a good first impression when a line of new arrivals has to wait for several minutes the booths to be manned and then be greeted by an officer with a disinterested attitude. I realize that it is a tedious and repetitive job but a smile and a simple "Enjoy your stay." goes a long way towards insuring a visit starts on the right foot.
    • rodent (10/04/2012, 12:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with your assessment. I sometimes wonder what in the world could make "some" of the officers so negative to people coming to their island.


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