Director of Immigration Jack Thompson addressing Trainee Immigration Officers on their first day of training, Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at the Department of Immigration on Hawkins Hill.
Nassau, The Bahamas – The Department of Immigration has recruited 30 Trainee Immigration Officers to beef up the critical areas of enforcement and service.
The 14 men and 16 women, after undergoing weeks of intensive training will join the 191 immigration officers and bring the total to 221 for the department.
The trainees started their eight-week course on Tuesday, June 1, 2010, with an orientation exercise at the Department of Immigration on Hawkins Hill. They were formally introduced to the management team, which included Cora Colebrook, deputy permanent secretary and the Director of Immigration Jack Thompson.
“Normally the training is three months but we are going to condense the training, given the urgency and demands of the department. However, we are going to make sure they are adequately prepared for the work place,” Mr Thompson said.
“The department is particularly pleased to welcome the 30 officers at this time, having regard to the fact that we commenced the shift system on January 18.This means that officers will work five days a week in a 40-hour work week system,” he said.
There were approximately 1,200 applicants; 144 were interviewed and, 30 were recruited, after having met the criteria for the position.
It was stated that applicants must be Bahamians between the age of 18 and 30; possess a clean police record; have a minimum of two BGCSE/GCE ‘O’ Level passes at grade C or above or equivalent, one of which must be English Language and the other preferably in Mathematics. Applicants, who do not possess Mathematics at the BGCSE /GCE O’ Level, must have Mathematics or Arithmetic BJC or equivalent.
Mr. Thompson said that because of “limited personnel”, the department was unable t o adequately man long lines at the Lynden Pindling International Airport. “So having this group is a big plus for us.”
“They are coming at an opportune time as the department is placing great emphasis on
enforcement and services. We know that in terms of guarding our borders, the emphasis of the department is still to apprehend and repatriate. So the enforcement component of the department is very great,” Mr. Thompson said.
The officers are also joining the department when plans are underway to expand services, namely, institute a ‘help desk’ where the public can get answers to questions pertaining to immigration laws and policies, he said.
The recruits will be trained by senior immigration officers Rudolph Ferguson and Florinda Black-Farrington. Upon completion of their training, the officers will be deployed throughout the country.