New Mandate For Immigration Officers
NASSAU, The Bahamas — Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert A Ingraham told the A-Squad 2011 Trainee Immigration/Border Control Officers that they have been engaged by the Government to enforce the law but they are not the law and are not permitted to bend or ignore the law.
“You are not authorised to waive the law. When you have a question about the limits of your authority, ask! You are at all times subject to the law,” Prime Minister Ingraham stressed at the graduation ceremony for the 32 officers at the Royal Bahamas Police Force College Grounds, Thursday, May 12, 2011.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Brent Symonette; Minister of National Security the Hon. Tommy Turnquest; Secretary to the Cabinet, Anita Bernard; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Patricia Rogers and Director, Bahamas Immigration Department, Jack Thompson also attended the graduation.
The Prime Minister said corruption would not be tolerated in any form or fashion. “The Bahamas Government has adopted a zero tolerance policy on corruption.
“Any officer that is found to conspire to defraud the Government of its revenue or be a part of any corrupt activity to defraud the Government or to win some illegal benefit whether monetary or otherwise will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.”
Prime Minister Ingraham added, “You are not permitted to receive gifts, tips, ‘thank you presents’ or any form of kickback for any service provided by the Department.
“By that I mean building supplies, furniture, appliances, jewellery, clothing or any monetary gift are not permitted. You are not permitted to borrow from the Government’s till. There are to be no IOU’s in the cash till. Officers violating this policy are subject to dismissal.”
He explained that the Government of The Bahamas employs them and that their salary is paid from the taxes collected from all the people.
“If you are not satisfied with your salary then you are free to seek employment elsewhere. You are not permitted to supplement your salary by soliciting monetary or in kind gifts from members of the public with whom you come into contact as part of your work.”
The Prime Minister said the Trainee Immigration/Border Control Officers are expected to work in accordance with the newly implemented shift systems, which means five days per workweek, eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.
He also noted that nothing less than professionalism will be expected of the new Officers in their day-to-day operations and that their position is one of great trust.
Prime Minister Ingraham also stressed that they must deliver great customer service to residents and visitors.
During the ceremony, several of the graduates received special awards.
The Valedictorian Award or the Award of Excellence, the highest of the night went to Anwah Deveaux for demonstrating excellence in all aspects of training. He demonstrated strong leadership ability and communication skills. He also maintained a high academic standard.
Kadrian Cooper received the Immigration’s Department Special Commendation Award for outstanding detection and a keen sense of alertness during the training exercises.
Gabrielle Styles received the Director’s Award for showing consistency in all areas of training, which include classroom assignments, participation, drills and physical fitness.
The Minister’s Award went to Alfred Russell for maintaining the highest academic average for the duration of the training period as well as the final examination.
By Llonella Gilbert
Bahamas Information Services