...Only application forms, no passports
Passport forms are being given out abundantly but passports are hard to come by at the Port of Spain Immigration office.
Putting aside their pressing passport woes, several members of the public said yesterday they felt the ongoing impasse between the Public Services Association (PSA), its leader Watson Duke and the State should have been resolved already.
Labour Minister Errol McLeod has been granted an injunction by the Industrial Court restraining immigration workers from protesting but workers have continued to stay away from work.
The minister last Thursday sought to have Duke imprisoned for breaching the order. The matter has been adjourned to July 22.
From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. yesterday, citizens attempted to get their passports at the Immigration Office in Port of Spain but continued to complain bitterly about not being able to get them. Passport application forms were readily available but after two hours of waiting, Express photographer Anisto Alves was hard-pressed to find a lucky recipient of a passport.
Inside, asked to give an update, an Immigration Officer said, “We gave out some passports. I can’t give you an exact figure today, because I was on the top floor. We are still unsure about working hours. But I know they did some work over the weekend.”
Outside, tradesman Shawn Small busied himself cleaning out the water meter.
Among those who felt the impasse should have been resolved decades ago, was Woodbrook resident Francis Rivas, 74. He said, “I find it should have been sorted out before. PSA could have gone about it differently. I came to get a form. I want to go to New York.”
Accompanied by his daughter, San Fernando’s Jonathan said, “I went to get back my birth certificate. I think it is unfair Prime Minister (Kamla Persad-Bissessar) can fly out to the World Cup tournament in Brazil and citizens cannot get their documents to go anywhere.”
Lorraine Lewis, a nurse at St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital, said, “I have to say goodbye to my US$300. I wanted to fly out in August. Our building has health and safety issues, too. Imagine if we were to close it down. What would happen out here?” —ML
By 11.30 a.m., an Immigration Officer who was exiting the building said: “I agree with Duke. It is a sick building. I don’t know about the others. But I can’t work in there. I am getting headaches. I am just not feeling well.”