The German government is helping the Department of Immigration (DOI) to be
better able to detect fraudulent documents, especially those related to Schengen
visas that grant holders entry into 27 European countries.
Receiving the donations of 50 special lights, to be used to magnify and highlight
documents to tell whether or not they are genuine, Chief Immigration Officer,
Katrina Yearwood said the equipment will significantly assist the DOI in keeping
ahead of trends where people are traveling with more and more sophisticated
documents, that are difficult to detect fraud.
“The way this works is that there are many trends that are spilling over into the
Caribbean. These include the sophistication in constructing travel documents.
Gone are the days when you reach a certain port-of-entry and the DOI officer
could look in a passport and say, ‘This is not right,’ as it had all the tell-tale signs
of not being something legal. However, what we are seeing increasingly this year,
and in previous years, is the level of sophistication at a level higher than we are
accustomed to as a law enforcement agency,” Yearwood explained.
Based on the new trends, she further explained that without improved equipment
and training, her officers will not be able to intercept these highly sophisticated
forgeries that are increasingly being presented at the ports of entry in Antigua and
Barbuda and other Caribbean territories.
“The construction of these forgeries is so seamless that they often have the security
features, and unless you have the proper equipment and training, you are not going
to detect these documents,” she added.
Meanwhile, Resident German Counsel in St. John’s, Torzten Stenzel, said the fifty
magnifying glasses are designed to help detect fraudulent documents such as
passports, visas, and especially Schengen visas, which are becoming more of an
issue at the moment. “The officers here need to know if a document is real or not.
The bad people get more and more educated, so the copies are getting better and
this equipment should make it easier to tell what is wrong and what is genuine,” he
He said the German Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago issues the visas that allow
entry into 26 other countries, and they have to make sure that when visas are
presented at border control, they are the real visas issued by the embassy.
The actual handover of the equipment was done by Colonel Stephan Kaldasch of
the German Federal Police, who conducted a training session for officers of the
DOI following the presentation.