THE implementation of an Automated Border Control Kiosk System at the Piarco airport and the ANR Robinson airport in Tobago is geared towards making the journey through Customs checkpoints easier on travellers.
The system was launched on Monday evening at the Immigration Hall in Piarco where 12 kiosks were installed.
At the launch, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said it was time we changed the way passengers came into our country. He said Government believed this country must simplify and modernise processes, structures and tolls to create value for the public.
The system was intended to improve efficiency in the Immigration Division processes of incoming and, in the near future, outgoing passengers at both airports with the anticipated outcomes of reinforced border security, reduced passenger queues and enhanced customer experience.
“Consistent with international regional security commitments we will pursue best practice benchmarks through the use of modern technology in our national security environment. As such, implementation of the automated border control system will scan and validate passengers’ passports by referencing security measures, perform facial recognition of passengers and match images against scanned passports by identity verification and capture passenger finger prints biometric features.
“We live in an era where our national security environment is characterised by terrorists, returning foreign terrorist fighters and transnational organised crime so it is important to tap this kind of information. The procedure would indicate whether the passenger has been properly processed or requires further processing. It will decrease passenger processing time. The ministry’s Immigration Division has already implemented the advance passenger information system from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection System (PHIS),” Dillon said.
The minister said there has already been a connection between the Caribbean Information Agency for Crime and Security to the Joint Regional Information Centre based in Barbados. He said the border control system would be integrated within APHIS to assimilate information of arriving passengers. He added that from a national security perspective, this connective system would strengthen this country’s border with the goal of mitigating the risk of transnational organised crime to increase transborder intelligence and information sharing.
Dillon said for a two-week period a limited number of passengers would be invited by the Immigration Division to go through the process and on July 28, it would be opened up to other travellers. Three kiosks were installed in ANR Robinson Airport.