Immigration officers in Antigua and Barbuda are undergoing continuous training because of the vital tasks they perform in ensuring the overall security of the nation’s borders and its people.
This was emphasised in brief remarks made by the Minister responsible for Immigration, E.P. Chet Greene to some twenty-five immigration officers attending this week’s training session at the Trade Winds hotel.
“Training continues to be the hallmark of the work we do in the department as even in this pandemic period it is very important that we keep our staff updated and certainly conversant with modern developments and trend,” he remarked.
He noted that performing a task several times assists staff members in improving their skills. “Through repetition, we perfect it; we learn new things about it and in the context of immigration and border control, the tasks that we are asked to undertake on a daily basis on behalf of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, I am sure you have come to understand and appreciate the nature of training,” he added.
The minister also urged the participants to ‘stay the course,’ telling them to grasp as much as they can from the training. Noting that immigration officers must now operate in a ‘different time’ of new norms, adopting training to one’s new circumstances may mean some level of variation to what existed before.
He made references to the new realities at the main port of entry, the airport, where health protocols have been put into place due to the pandemic. This, he explained, is part of a world where change is the only constant. “I now call on you to be that change; the change that is adaptable to the new realities and one which calls for creative thinking, an ability to assess a situation and to adopt,” he remarked.
Greene made the point that while the training offers some key points and pointers, it is up to the officer to bring this new learning into their everyday activities on the job.
The training is being conducted by Chief Consultant at Nibbs and Associates, Shirlene Nibbs, who has performed similar training for the immigration department in the past.
The workshop runs for two weeks as the idea is to train the entire department over that period. Due to COVID-19 protocols only twenty-five staff members at a time may attend the training.