Where there is a will there is a way. Through the year when members of the BU household have had to travel, a discussion has always erupted about the difference in approaches by the immigration departments of United Kingdom, US and a few other places compared to Barbados concerning how nationals returning from overseas trips are processed. The ‘Aliens’ have their passports scrutinized with the obligatory questions posed, the passports of the nationals are scanned in seconds with minimal delay. It seems the intent is always to get nationals through the process with minimum discomfort.
On the other hand Barbadians returning home, if they are unfortunate to be caught in the melee created when several planes converge at Grantley Adams International airport, have to endure the painful process of having passports checked and immigration documents reviewed. One would have thought in 2011 with machine readable passports a scan of the passports should be all that is required to capture relevant information. The truth is Barbados’ situation is not unique, a visit to most islands in the Caribbean will replicate the sorry tale.
Maybe there is nothing that can be done and Barbadians should tolerate delays ‘clearing’ immigration as a necessary evil. Perhaps it is a bureaucratic process which has become so routinized that locals have resigned themselves to the inevitable. Not to forget the process maybe influenced by a civil service mentality. There maybe very good reasons why Barbadians returning home are made to feel less than than sons and daughters of the soil when they have to endure long delays as a result of airport immigration processing. The regionalists will put the same argument for Caricom national.
Home drums beat first!
Even the tourists and non residents have a case, especially those visiting the island during July and August (Crop Over) to expect well manned immigration cubicles!
After all, tourism is our lifeline.