The introduction of kiosks at the Grantley Adams International Airport will not allow persons to “ease” into Barbados.
That assurance has been given by Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey, who has also reassured Barbadians that they have no reason to fear.
Speaking during debate on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Parliament today, he said countless Barbadians had made lives for themselves and their families by migrating. And while he said he had no issues with non-nationals coming to the country in search of better, he maintained that the kiosks were not being used for that purpose.
“If anybody understands the Barbadian story, the Barbadian story is an immigrant story . . . if Barbadians want to benefit from our capacity to go to other people’s countries then we must allow people to come to this country too,” Humphrey said.
“We have these fears, and this idea that we are putting in place these kiosks so anybody could come amuses me…there are pros and cons to having these machines, of course there are, but there are pros and cons around immigration period. In fact, there are very few issues I think as polarizing as immigration is to many people and there are very few persons who find themselves in the middle.”
Humphrey said he had never been of the view that persons come to Barbados with the intention of taking more than they could give.
In fact, he said any check of the records would show that the prison was not populated by immigrants.
“These are fears fueled by xenophobia that in many cases we inherited because of the way we perceive ourselves as a people. We fear our own selves,” he insisted, while adding that the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) constitution referenced the idea of regionalism.
“Issues that pertain to immigration are complex and issues pertaining to immigration are rooted in something that is deep and rooted in something that is philosophical. We have come to a point in Barbados where we recognize that we have to do things differently.”