A new Immigrant Detention and Removal facility with the ability to hold fifteen (15) detainees has finally opened its doors. The building with was opened through the joint effort of the Labour and Immigration Department both of which fall under the Ministry of National Security.
This Detention facility is the first to be established in Antigua and Barbuda and it will serve as a temporary holding facility for those who breach the immigration and labour laws of the country while waiting to be returned to their country of birth.
While the Immigration Department had considered complaints and issues raised by certain individuals, Chief of Immigration Lieutenant Colonel Ivor Walker says, the Department developed detention policies based on its own objectives.
The opening of the Detention Center is an effort to improve the current manner in which persons are detained. The Chief of Immigration says he expects that there will be some criticism with regard to the size and appearance of the facility but says “something is better than nothing” and that the structure is “much more improved than what currently obtains.”
Dr. Errol Cort the National Security Minister, expressed his elation that the building had been secured especially as it’s in close proximity to the National Security, Labour and Immigration Headquarters.
Dr. Cort said that it’s good to have an actual facility so that the previous manner of housing detainees at the St. John’s Police Station can be done away with. The Security Minister says sending detainees with minor immigration infractions to be held at cells at the St. John’s Police Station had been an unacceptable situation.
It is the hope of the Ministry of National Security, Labour & Immigration to implement an Online Registration system for immigrants to make online appointments in the near future.