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May 16, 2018

The Reason for Coming Split of Department

Edmund Zuniga

Meanwhile, a few months ago, legislation went to Parliament for a split of the Immigration and Nationality Department. At the time, the Opposition People’s United Party objected on various grounds. The move has still not been effected but processes are underway for that to happen. One of the concerns is that the second director being proposed to lead the new section for Immigration and Border Management, alongside current Director Diana Locke, does not have the required educational qualification for the post. On Friday, lead Opposition Senator Eamon Courtenay addressed the issue with reporters, warning that it may lead to the kind of continued hanky panky with passports, visas and other immigration documents that was the subject of the recently concluded immigration senate hearings. But C.E.O. in the Department Edmund Zuniga told us that the split is aimed at increasing overall efficiency.

 

Edmund Zuniga, C.E.O., Ministry of Immigration and Nationality

“The government has approved that we split the Ministry into two – two functional areas, one to do with border management and immigration services, for people who are coming in and out of the country, and ensuring that we strengthen our enforcement arm which falls under that department; and also there is the nationality and permanent residence aspect of the second department which would take care of applications for citizenship, applications for permanent residence and of course applications for passports. The idea is that travelers will meet uniformed people at border points and in the background, at the Ministry itself, will be those persons who are making sure that persons who are applying for citizenship and residence and passports are taken care of, which is a more administrative function that the enforcement function of migration.”

 

Aaron Humes

“The concern that has been raised is that we do have outstanding the report from the Senate Special Select Committee. Was that decision made before any question of what would happen coming from the hearings? Was it premature?”

 

Edmund Zuniga

“No; actually, this conversation about bifurcating the department has been going on for a very long time. I joined the ministry in 2013; and already that was on the table for discussion, so it’s not a new idea. And I think that it is going to assist in making our service to the public more efficient and effective.”

 

Aaron Humes

“In terms of searching for the persons who are going to lead that section of the department, are we looking at established persons within the department, or other new leadership if you will?”

 

Edmund Zuniga

“First of all, we have to rely on the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Public Service to create the positions that are required; we can’t even start to appoint anybody yet, because those positions have to be created.”

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