by Linda Straker
Parliamentarians in the House of Representatives have given approval to legislation that mandates for Advance Passenger Information (API) to be forwarded to Grenada for incoming crafts, and at the same time for Grenada to forward to the destination of arrival for all departing crafts.
“There is a new approach to passenger safety and that new approach is to facilitate the provision of the advance passenger information,” Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod told the House of Representatives when he presented the Bill during last week’s sitting of the House.
“Advance Passenger Information is extremely critical and important in terms of safety and security,” said Nimrod who explained that this new amendment to the Immigration Act is something that must be done by all CARICOM member states.
Nimrod said that information that will be provided through the API will assist the country in knowing the persons who are returning as criminal deportees. “This, for example, will help us in the monitoring of deportees arriving and knowing what crimes they committed,” noting that travel has changed since September 2011.
“Everything is tightening and becoming stricter, the information must be shared so detecting any person who might be posing a risk to (national) security is of great importance,” he said. Once the amendment becomes law it will apply to all members and crew of ships, vessels and aircraft – private and commercial.
According to the legislation, the captain, master or agent of every aircraft or vessel shall provide to the competent authority and IMPACS — CARICOM’s Implementing Agency for Crime and Security — the relevant API and data relating to the flight or voyage.
A captain, master or agent who fails to provide the relevant API, intentionally or recklessly provides an erroneous, faulty, misleading, incomplete or false API; or transmits the API in an incorrect format commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year or to both such fine and imprisonment.
It further explains that where the API provided is inaccurate and the captain, master or agent of the aircraft or vessel satisfies the Competent Authority that the error was not made knowingly or recklessly, then notwithstanding any other provision of this enactment, the captain, master or agent, as the case may be, may not be charged for the offence.
Grenada’s House of Representatives became the 6th member of CARICOM to approve the Bill. The Bill will now have to be approved by the Upper House or the Senate before it can be Gazetted, approved by the Governor General and then be given a date of effect to become enforceable law.