Local News

Bahamas’ Senior level of Immigration challenged to deliver better service

NASSAU, Bahamas – The top level managers of The Bahamas Immigration Department were challenged to sharpen their managerial skills in order to deliver better service to the public.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General the Hon Brent Symonette, who is also responsible for the department, threw out the challenge as he officially opened a one-day Immigration Leadership Seminar, Wednesday, September 23.

He told the 40 participants assembled at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre at Police Headquarters that the seminar was held at “a most interesting time” in the development of the nation and the history of the Immigration Department, which is celebrating 70 years.

There are 325 uniform officers within the Immigration Department and 198 non-uniform personnel. There are 20 units or areas that deal with a wide variety of immigration matters from permits, naturalisation and citizenship, enforcement and deportment, investigations, refugee and asylum, detention and repatriation.

“It is therefore imperative that those of you leading the various units demonstrate the highest leadership qualities in your day-to-day operations.

“You must not only carry out your responsibilities professionally but you must also be excellent leaders and know that others depend on you for guidance and inspiration,” Mr Symonete said.

He said that he was pleased to be involved in the seminar held under the theme: “Leadership for the 21st Century and Beyond”. The purpose was to devise new methods to embrace the challenges efficiently and effectively.

The seminar was facilitated by senior immigration managers who focused on leadership and responsibility to include accountability and initiatives, total quality management, evaluating staff performance, detecting problems and resolving conflicts, amongst other things.

“You are well aware of the department’s mandate, and the public expectations of us,” Mr Symonette said. He reminded that the role was made clear earlier this year by the Prime Minister at the first costumer service training and motivational seminar.

The Prime Minister had said, “The work of the Immigration Department is extremely important; it is not to be taken lightly. Immigration Officers are trained to be vigilant, to protect our borders against criminals including drug traffickers, terrorists and other undesirables, the undocumented and all who abuse our hospitality for illegal purposes.”

The mandate for leaders and managers is quite clear, well defined, and requests prompt, efficient and urgent action, Mr Symonette said.

The challenge of the department is that one-day officers may be on the enforcement end and the other, at customer service, which requires a different approach and a measurable degree of calm, he said.

“This organisation is peculiar and requires a considerable degree of focus at all levels, simply because you deal with people and emotions. It is against this background that this leadership seminar is both necessary and timely, Mr Symonette said.

He then advised that policies are many. Principles are few. Polices will change, principles never do. Excellent leaders must lead by example.

‘The challenge we have in the workplace today is that it is in short inefficient, ineffective and slack. This attitude will not be tolerated. Your keys are organisational, managerial, interpersonal and personal qualities,” Mr Symonette said.

“It is imperative that today’s leaders must possess the highest standards and levels of integrity and character in the work place and in the community.”

Director of Immigration Jack Thompson said that another objective is to enable the department to review and carryout housekeeping matters, with a view to revamping the department.

Related Articles

Back to top button