The government is yet to decide on a replacement for Chief Immigration Officer Annette Mark whose resignation takes effect next week.
Mark tendered her resignation on July 10, which should take effect on October 15, but at that time the government requested that she continue in the post.
Minister with responsibility for immigration Charles “Max” Fernandez told Antigua News Room (ANR) the Cabinet is still mulling the decision as to who will replace Mark.
Fernandez said she is presently on vacation.
“But we have a deputy, an acting deputy right now…Cabinet hasn’t confirmed anybody for the chief’s position yet,” Fernandez said.
Mark’s appointment was criticised by many in some circles, including the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP). She is originally from St Vincent.
The immigration chief had recommended that the government consider someone from within the Immigration Department to replace her, but Fernandez said the ultimate decision is vested with the Cabinet as to who will be Mark’s replacement.
“Yeah, that has always been the recommendation even when we used her, the recommendation was to use somebody inside but we chose her. It’s a recommendation. She recommended several people, that’s true, but at the end of the day several people were also recommended when she was chosen. So it is not necessarily (that) it will be amongst them , but certainly they will be considered,” Fernandez told ANR.
Mark, who before her appointment as head of the Immigration Department was working in the Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Legal Affairs, was on secondment from the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP), where she was a legal advisor from 2012 to 2014. She was director of anti-corruption while working at Legal Affairs.
She became the immigration head on June 1, 2015, on a six-month contract initially. Her current contract would have expired in November.
Mark took over from Lieutenant Colonel Ivor Walker after he was returned to the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) from where he was seconded in 2009.