The “secret shopper” model will be used in customs and immigration to “randomly evaluate just how we’re doing against the standards we set”. *File photo by Kageaki Smith
The “secret shopper” model will be used in customs and immigration to “randomly evaluate just how we’re doing against the standards we set”. *File photo by Kageaki Smith

MONDAY, AUGUST 13: Undercover passengers are to rate their experiences going through Customs and Immigration at the LF Wade International Airport, National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief announced today.

The Minister said the move was part of a Government pledge to make Bermuda more welcoming — while still maintaining border security for the island.

Mr Perinchief added the “secret shopper” model will be used to “randomly evaluate just how we’re doing against the standards we set”.

He said: “Every resident, visitor and various service providers use the airport regularly. It is important that the border control experience inspires confidence internationally and is proficient and welcoming for all travellers.”

Mr Perinchief added that February’s Budget statement had promised to work with staff and the private sector to ensure a “cordial, efficient and seamless” arrivals process.

He said that Government had signed up the Bermuda Employers’ Council to carry out a review of border control at the airport, which also set up focus groups involving nearly 70 Immigration and Customs officers.

Mr Perinchief added: “A determined focus on stronger and consistent management, leading to a more unified workforce is a key requirement for building on the existing commitment of the officers.”

Mr Perinchief said officers on the front line were evaluated for customer service, landing procedure and communication with the public.

He added: “We can improve in this are too. Managers have committed to working with officers in need of stronger communications skills and as policy makers. We must be clearer in our directives, aims and objectives.

“There is room for improvement at all levels and we now have data in support of these areas we must address.”

And he promised that the focus on customer service would be continued in the next few months, including customer satisfaction surveys.

He added that special green channels for those with nothing to declare, in line with similar arrangements in the UK and elsewhere, werealso on the cards.

And he said that renovations would also be carried out to the Customs arrivals hall and secondary inspection areas over the next few months.

Mr Perinchief added: “Institutions which so directly impact our lives must continually be improved and this Government is determined tomake the airport border control experience first class for all.”