Government has moved a step closer towards implementing its much-touted border management and e-Visa system.
On Monday, government representatives signed a contract for the system with operatives from the Canadian Bank Note (CBN) Company Ltd.
“Today is a historic and red-letter day for the BVI. Finally, a border control solution is coming on stream to allow agencies to be integrated in real-time. We will know who is coming into the territory before they arrive. We will finally be able to do exit immigration,” Deputy Premier and Minister for Immigration Vincent Wheatley wrote on his social media page moments after the signing ceremony on Monday.
“Indeed, today is the first step towards reforming immigration. We will soon have tourism statistics readily available,” he added.
With this new system, Wheatley said transactions at the ports will be done quickly and will allow authorities to properly prepare for persons such as celebrities as well as criminals coming into the territory.
Premier and Finance Minister Andrew Fahie also said he was pleased with the undertaking.
He said: “It has been long in coming. It is needed and I always say no one does what’s expected, only what’s inspected, but the issue is we do not have the statistics now to inspect. This now will let us know who will be coming, who is here, and who is leaving.”
Vice President of Business Development International at CBN Mark Houlton said the BVI will now receive the latest technology.
“We have leveraged all the experience that we have obtained through your neighbours in bringing you that solution. It will be a seamless, integrated solution and we are looking forward to working with the immigration, passport, e-visas teams into bringing one single solution containing all of the information you need to control your borders,” he stated.
He continued, “Given the experience we have working in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), we understand the traveller experience is equally important as national security and so facilitating the traveller experience in a controlled and efficient way will help you with your tourism objectives to continue to build this strong tourism industry that you’ve got here.”
He said CBN would also be introducing technologies like kiosks that would enable persons to enter into the territory quicker. He said there would also be electronic visas capabilities will be integrated into work permit systems and to the police watch lists etcetera.
Costing over $6 M
In June this year Minister Wheatley announced that Government is spending roughly $6.4 million on the system.
His announcement came several months after Governor Augustus Jaspert announced that travellers arriving and departing the BVI will be subject to heightened security measures to include the implementation of an Advance Passenger Information (API) System.
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