Providenciales, 24 Oct 2014 (TCIG Press Release) – Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Border Control and Labour, Mrs. Clara Gardiner, and Registrar General, Ms. Sigrid Lightbourne returned to the islands recently after attending the 10th Symposium and Exhibition of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTDs), Biometrics and Border Security in Montreal, Canada during the period October 6-9, 2014.
Among its other mandates, ICAO is the United Nations lead organization that is charged with establishing standards and specifications on travel and identification documents.
Mrs. Gardiner stated: “The conference focused on the importance of the Traveler Identification Programme (ICAO TRIP) Strategy which was adopted in 38th Session of Assembly in order to establish the goals and objectives of traveler identification management.
“The objective of this effort is to lead and reinforce a global approach, and to provide direction for action to ICAO, States and the many international, regional and industry partners in identification management.
“ICAO’s leadership in pursuing these Strategic Objectives is a signal event from which all other travel documents and border management activities will more effectively flow, to bring together all elements of identity management, and to acknowledge the singular importance of partnerships.”
She continued: “Attendance at this conference was timely; fraud remains a live issue in the Registration and Citizenship and Border Enforcement departments. To enable the department to identify abuse and illegal activity there are several trained officers, sophisticated forgery and detection equipment and regional contacts with UK and USA Intelligence Agencies to assist them with their work.
“The Turks and Caicos Islands is compliant with the mandate Chicago Convention -the main international law instrument regulating civil aviation matters globally- which speaks to the deadline for the introduction of machine readable passports by November 24, 2015.
“The TCI commenced issuance of machine readable passports in 2004. The new Turks and Caicos passports that will be issued after the repatriation of printing to the UK next year will, in addition to being machine readable, be an ePassport, however, the eligibility of many residents to acquire full British passports means that many citizens are currently in possession of an ePassport.”
The Ministry of Border Control and Labour is presently exploring opportunities to transform its visa and civil registration system and so it is noteworthy that this conference provided an opportunity to network with potential providers as well as many experts and industry leaders.
Note: Photo (Left to Right) Registrar General, Ms. Sigrid Lightbourne – Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Clara Gardiner