Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Why only two Immigration officers on duty?

 THIS is an open letter to Airports Authority general manager Hayden Newton.

Sir,  I write to you about a particular incident that occurred in the early morning hours of December 31, 2013.  

On December 30, 2013, I arrived at Piarco International Airport on an American Airlines flight just a few minutes shy of midnight.  The flight was a full one, so it was some time before I was able to disembark and make my way to Immigration.  On the way there, I came to a very long line.  After questioning the other passengers, I found out it was the line to see the Immigration officers.  To my utter dismay, I realised there were only two Immigration officers to handle all the passengers on that flight who were residents.

The immigration area at Piarco International Airport has 22 stations.  Only four were occupied—two for returning residents, two for visitors.  It took every single person in the line for residents more than an hour to get checked through.

To see two Immigration officers handle 100-plus people (to be clear, I am referring to returning residents; they made up most of the passengers) is ridiculous and a bad show of service. I am quite sure that you possess the technology to determine how many passengers arrive at the airport at any given time.  Surely you would have known the number of passengers due to arrive that night. 

Why weren’t there more officers on hand?

Did you consider that some passengers may have had small children?  

Did you consider that some passengers still had some distance to go before reaching home?  Did you consider that most, if not all the adults, had to return to work that very morning? 

Surely you would have thought that more immigration officers were needed to give the green light for passengers to enter the country as quickly as possible so they can get to their homes as quickly as possible.

I hope that in the future some initiative is taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Gwynneth McEachrane

via e-mail