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Public servants need to show respect

 I have had to visit the Immigration Office on upper Frederick Street, Port of Spain, several times recently to apply for a Trinidad and Tobago passport and each time the treatment by the passport authorities has been increasingly disgraceful. 

What I found particularly distressing is that young mothers with screaming infants had to wait for five hours, simply to apply for a passport. There should be a special queue for them, so that they don’t have to wait more than half an hour.

Only three of the ten booths were interviewing applicants for passports and, when I returned on Tuesday to receive my passport, I was told that I’d have to wait for a further two weeks. Why? To give them time to go through my police record? It doesn’t exist. 

Where were the rest of the staff? What are we paying civil servants for? 

At 86 years of age, I am the oldest Holy Ghost Father in Trinidad and the oldest former teacher at St Mary’s College. Among my students were people like the late Tony Jacelon, the late Fr Henry Charles, Fr Clyde Harvey, Arnold Rampersad of Stanford University, Martin Daly and others.

And what goes for the passport office goes for every other government office that I’ve had to deal with, apart from the Ministry of Housing and the Environment, where I have always been treated with respect.

Why should we treat people with respect if they don’t respect us?

Roland Quesnel CSSp

Port of Spain

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