Calls are being made for Ian Penn to be confirmed to the post of Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) at the Immigration Department.
Penn, who is now an Attorney-At-Law, has been Acting CIO for five years. He was recently admitted to the local Bar at a Special Sitting of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
The Acting CIO has stated that he had been acting since 2014, but proceeded on study leave in 2016 and returned to the department in 2017. He was responding to questions from Hon. Julian Fraser, Third District Representative during a Standing Finance Committee (SFC) meeting.
Hon. Fraser asked Penn if he was a law graduate to which he responded in the affirmative. The Member further asked what else would he need to have to convince the powers that be that he was eligible to be confirmed to the post.
Penn said that he was not informed of any additional requirements needed for him to be confirmed to the post. He stated that if a head of department is performing their duties the Permanent Secretary or the Ministry would be the authority to request for confirmation of the person in the post.
Hon. Marlon Penn, Leader of the Opposition and Member for the Eighth District congratulated Penn on his recent achievement of being admitted to the Bar. Penn noted since under the past administration he had supported the Acting CIO’s confirmation.
The Opposition Leader then implored the powers that be to have Penn confirm as he has been doing a good job.
Prior to his acting appointment, Penn served as the Acting Deputy Chief Immigration Officer. He has also served in other capacities with the Immigration Department for over 20 years. His other work experience includes time at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
The Chief Immigration Officer has the overarching responsibility for administering and implementing the immigration laws and policies of the Virgin Islands.
Additionally, the Chief Immigration Officer serves as the Government’s key advisor on matters pertaining to immigration and is responsible for the overall planning, management and coordination of the department.