Chief Immigration Officer, Dennis Jennings has stated that there are laws in the BVI that deal with prostitution, but it's a very touchy subject and one that is difficult to define.
According to Jennings, the Immigration Ordinance clearly points out that a person is in contradiction with the law if that person is a prostitute or maybe living or receiving or may have lived on or has received the proceeds of prostitution.
"This is a very touchy subject and it is one that is very difficult to define, but we have seen cases where we have been able to do so. It's a very sensitive subject and one will have to be careful in dealing with this. It is on the books and we have to carry out and like I said, we have had a few cases where we have successfully addressed situations of this nature," Jennings told the BVI Crime Conference last Friday, June 8.
He added that there are laws on the books that need to be amended and the relevant agencies were looking into them. The Chief Immigration Officer also pointed out that when legislators pass laws, the department cannot be selective in how they enforce those laws, regardless of public sentiments.
During his presentation at the conference which was held at Eileen Parsons Auditorium, Jennings recalled the difficulties the Immigration Department encountered with the 'Rastafarian Law', which prevented persons who wore locks from entering the Territory.
"People found that it was discriminating, but when laws are placed on the books, as Immigration Officers these laws have to be executed. They had people who actually cut their hair at the airport because it was felt that by cutting their hair, they would gain access into the Territory...but you came with locks and so to us you were a rasta and you were denied entry," Jennings stated.
He also recalled in previous years when persons were repatriated for medical reasons. He said in those cases, the Government doctors would inform the Immigration Department when someone was not healthy and was therefore a threat to the population.
"We do have an established medical form where persons who come in to work have to undergo medical treatment. If it turns out that their health is a threat to community, then the onus will be on the medical practitioners to make that recommendation to immigration and immigration will then in turn ensure that these persons are repatriated. Suffice to say that at this time when we have more people coming in we really don't have anyone to repatriate for health status," the Chief Immigration Officer shared.
"We found more the trend where people are being treated. I recalled in earlier years every now and then we had people to repatriate because there was a concern about the Territory; I don't know if it's because medicine has increased," Jennings added.