Advance Passenger Information System and Passenger Name Record Legislation Draft Presented to Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten (November 1, 2023) - In a significant step towards enhancing border monitoring and management, the Honorable Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson, and the Director of Immigration of Sint Maarten, Mr. Jocelyn Levenstone, were presented with the draft legislation for the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) on Friday, October 27th, 2023.
This legislative package is a crucial component of the Automated Border Control (ABC) project, aimed at facilitating a safe and responsible approach to ensure the seamless flow of passengers. The ABC project's primary focus is on processing biometric data, which is being integrated during the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project at the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten. The project's implementation is being carried out in collaboration with Vision Box, and it necessitated the reintroduction of newly installed E-gates and an improved passenger border processing system.
The need for this legislation was identified as far back as 2018, but regrettably, it was not given the priority it deserved within the Judicial Department of Justice. Since taking office, Minister Richardson has made it a top priority, recognizing its significance in bolstering border security and management.
In her statement, the Honorable Minister of Justice, Anna E. Richardson, emphasized the importance of this legislation, stating, "I consider this legislation of high importance in my quest to ensure we strengthen our borders to know who travels to, from, and through Sint Maarten. As we work with universal security platforms like Interpol, it is imperative to have our border management at state-of- the-art levels. I prioritized this legislation and requested that it be finalized. The assignment was given to Erling Hoeve and Tiffany Glascow of the Justice Ministry, who dedicated much time and effort, which was thereafter vetted by De Jonge Legal Services."
The legislation will now undergo the legislative review process, with Judicial Affairs having already completed their review. Subsequently, it will be submitted for approval by the Council of Ministers before proceeding to the Council of Advice (CoA). After incorporating any remarks from the CoA, the draft legislation will be presented to the Parliament of Sint Maarten for review and discussion. Minister Richardson anticipates that certain amendments may arise during this process, reflecting the collaborative and deliberative nature of the legislative journey.
The introduction of the APIS and PNR legislation is a significant step forward in Sint Maarten's efforts to enhance border security and establish state-of-the-art border management systems. It underscores the commitment of the Ministry of Justice to ensuring the safety and security of the nation's borders.