The Immigration Department introduced new uniforms across the Federation this week.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Immigration Department introduced new uniforms across the Federation this week as part of efforts to mould its identity as an independent institution. Immigration Officers in St. Kitts and Nevis came to work smartly dressed, donning new blue button-down tops and dark grey bottoms, with shoulder straps that display one, two, or three bars depending on the officer’s rank.

The Immigration Department previously fell under The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force. It became a separate entity in July 2018, with former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Merclyn Hughes, at the helm as the first-ever Chief Immigration Officer. Since that time, under her leadership, steps have been taken to shape the department’s image. A logo was created and social media platforms, in addition to a webpage, are being developed. The new uniforms are the latest step towards achieving this goal.

Ms. Hughes registered how pleased she was to see the Immigration Officers sporting new uniforms.

“I think this uniform makes us look more like the law-enforcing body that we are,” said Ms. Hughes. Customs Officers posted around the Federation at ports of entry help to create the first impression visitors have of the country. It is important that they look the part, in addition to being professional on the job.

“We have Immigration Officers at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport,” she said. “We have the private jet facility, the Kayan Jet section. There are Officers at the Port Zante Marina, Marina Telca at New Guinea, and Christophe Harbour on the Peninsular.

“There are Immigration Officers at the Vance W. Amory International Airport, and the Long Point and Charlestown Piers,” said Ms. Hughes. “We also want to be a body that nationals can take pride in due to the way we present ourselves.”

Deputy Immigration Officer, Jacqueline Browne, was assigned to the Immigration Department for several years prior to its separation. Formerly an inspector of Police, she is excited about the changes being made.

“The new uniforms took a long time to make due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Ms. Browne. “We are finally here and are very pleased with the results. With the new look, the team feels re-energized, reinvigorated, and motivated to carry out our mission. We provide an efficient and professional service to all arriving and departing our ports, to prevent people from entering illegally, and to liaise with local, regional and international agencies. We discharge our functions in a courteous and friendly manner.”

The officers gave the new uniforms their nod of approval and said they were thrilled with the direction the department is taking.