Standing outside the Immigration Office at Frederick Street, Port of Spain yesterday, Santa Cruz resident Camille Samuel said she had paid about $550 with her Linx card for the passport of her niece, Christine Samuel, because cashiers had not reported to work.
Led by president of the Public Services Association, Watson Duke, the employees have been engaged in “affirmative action” over health and safety issues ranging from inadequate egresses and entrances, one toilet for 30 people and no fire certificate. Despite the shutdown and general slowdown, Samuel was now optimistic her goodly gesture would enable her niece and her mother Rhonda to travel to Canada on vacation next week.
Inside, a Palo Seco-based family said they were getting their passports due to the intervention of an immigration officer. The party consisted of Clevester Bradley, Beverly Bradley, Cecil Gabriel and Pauline Gabriel.
Neck in a brace, Beverly Bradley, who works in New York, USA, said: “We left Palo Seco at 4 a.m on Monday to get here early but we got in an accident. My uncle’s arm is in a cast. We never did get the passports. Now we will get through. We are glad things are working out.”
Clevester Bradley said he was collecting his wife’s passport since she could not make the trek from New York. Commenting on the PSA impasse, Cecil Bradley said, “Duke has an ego as big as the whole of the Caribbean.”
Meanwhile, similar to the last couple of days, the regular volume of people seeking services has diminished significantly. A policeman posted outside the door politely indicated to a few people the office was still open for business.
An immigration officer said while new applications were not being processed, passports were being handed out.
Asked to comment on the injunction, the immigration officer said, “Asking them (McLeod) to lift an injunction makes no sense. The Immigration Department is not listed as an essential service like fire. Yet they cannot be involved in industrial action. They fall under the Civil Service Act.” —Michelle Loubon