(Photo Credit: Provided)
The Immigration Department is concerned by the recent incidents of fake visas being used by persons to try to enter the territory, and according to Chief Immigration Officer, Ian Penn, this is a threat to the territory’s security.
The most recent incident of two Dominican Republic citizens using fake visas to try to enter the BVI at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport has resulted in an investigation as to the source of these falsified travel clearances.
However, the Chief Immigration Officer said that the BVI cannot tackle this problem by itself locally, but requires the help of other countries.
“Every incident of fake documents, of visas coming to the territory is treated very serious and the Immigration Department alone cannot solve these problems. There are a number of players in law enforcement that would have to work together, not only here in the territory, but also internationally in order to help combat this,” he told BVI Platinum News.
Local authorities are already strategizing on how to eliminate this issue, he added, saying, “Once we have detected persons who want to manipulate the visa system, we would report this matter to the visa office and we would try to work together to see what we can do to help combat this from happening.”
The latest incident, he noted, is receiving attention.
“The matter is live and we can also work with our counterparts in the region and internationally as well. It is a threat to our security and we have to do what we can to combat that.”
On October 24, Mady Rodriguez, 31, and Edward Ortiz, 41, tried to enter the territory using fake visas.
The visas bore the numbers of visas recently issued to two other Dominican Republic citizens.
The duo was brought to court and charged in relation to the incident.
They maintain that they paid a large sum of cash to someone in the BVI to have their visas processed legally, but were unaware that they were given fake documents.