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State wants visitors fingerprints

Saturday, June 14 2014

ALL VISITORS to Trinidad and Tobago will be required to give a finger-print sample upon entry to the country under legislative proposals currently under review.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday defended the Miscellaneous Provisions (Administration of Justice) Bill 2014, which, among other things, proposes a new scheme of fingerprinting deportees upon entry and also visitors.

Opposition Chief Whip Marlene Mc Donald yesterday criticised the provisions saying they potentially violated Caricom Treaty arrangements in relation to equal treatment; and would hinder trade. However, Ramlogan said the provisions would not, in his view, violate Caricom laws since it related not to entry conditions but rather the discretionary regulation of how entry is managed. He further noted fingerprinting is now standard globally, such as the United States, Australia and Poland.

Ramlogan said when he recently went to the Bahamas he was made to take a yellow fever vaccine as a condition of entry into the country. “The Treaty of Chaguramas does not deprive a state of its sovereignty,” he said. Ramlogan cited the recent case of gunmen storming a house at Erin and throwing out a family as an example of why urgent reforms are needed. He said it was time to balance the rights of criminals with those of hard-working citizens. “In relation to our constitutional rights we cannot speak from the bandit’s perspective alone,” he said. Debate on the legislation was adjourned.

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