Curacao and St Maarten learn from Jamaica’s experience with immigration kiosks
KINGSTON, WILLEMSTAD - Immigration and airport personnel from Curaçao as well as a member of the St Maarten legislature were in Jamaica recently on a fact-finding mission to observe the island’s use of automated immigration kiosks at its main international airports.
The seven-man Curaçaoan delegation toured the arrival immigration hall at the Sangster International Airport (SIA) and included the chief operations officer for Curacao’s international airport, Tobias Market, and Esther Cheri, immigration director. Member of Parliament Leona Marlin was the representative from St Maarten, who observed the kiosks at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA). The tour of both airport facilities was done in the presence of local immigration personnel from the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
Curaçao and St Maarten are seeking to introduce the automated border crossing (ABC) technology at their ports of entry and have drawn on Jamaica’s experience with the system. The Curaçao delegation was accompanied by Dennis Martis, a representative from SITA – the company responsible for supplying and training PICA’s immigration staff in the use of the technology.
Ten ABC kiosks were installed at the SIA and five at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) during a formal launch of the system in November 2014 at NMIA and later in December 2014 at SIA. They are the first of their kind in the Americas, as they allow non-nationals to use the technology. In most other jurisdictions this is not the case as only citizens are allowed to use the kiosks while non-nationals are processed through their immigration officials.
The kiosks, which are self-serve machines, enable a speedier processing of persons through immigration, as travellers’ interaction with the system averages approximately 60 seconds as opposed to the average processing time of two minutes when passengers interact directly with an immigration officer. Many passengers have expressed pleasure with the system and are happy with the level of convenience it affords.
The addition of kiosks at the island’s major international airports forms part of an overall effort by PICA to re-engineer its immigration processes in order to facilitate a more convenient and hassle-free travelling experience for its customers.
By Angela Hamilton
Photo: St Maarten Member of Parliament Leona Marlin stands in front of some of the automated border crossing kiosks at the NMIA