Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Chaos and confusion in Sando too


in san fernando: Angela Marine displays her expired passport outside the Immigration Office on Knox Street, San Fernando. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Mark Fraser

THE Immigration Division Office in Knox Street, San Fernando re-opened yesterday for four hours after its temporary closure last week.

The closure was as a result of industrial action taken by members of the Public Services Association (PSA) who are demanding better health and safety practices and terms of employment.

People who turned up yesterday for their travel documents still experienced a multitude of problems, leaving many confused and stressed.

Angela Marine, 65, said she had planned to travel this month to the US to help take care of her grandson who is undergoing surgery in two weeks.

She admitted she did not check the expiry date properly on her passport and applied for a new one on May 10. She said she was told to return for collection in six weeks. When she visited the San Fernando office yesterday, she was told her passport would not be ready until September.

Several others were given similar excuses.

Marine said: “I already bought a ticket. I was supposed to travel on Saturday gone. I had to call and postpone. I was told as soon as I get the passport I could call and they will give me another date to travel. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to turn for help.”

On Wednesday, PSA’s president, Watson Duke, said he would have met with staff at the Immigration Office in Port of Spain yesterday to discuss how the problems caused by the shutdown could be solved and to explore options to clear up the backlog of passports.