An Immigration officer said about 50 people got their passports in Port of Spain and other citizens with pressing needs, including health and family emergencies, were placed on a special list yesterday.
The officer, who wished to remain anony-
mous, also said the Immigration Office at Fre-
derick Street, Port of Spain, was not functioning at full capacity
because of the lack of personnel, due to the ongoing protest action over health and safety issues.
The Immigration Office remained opened to the public until 3 p.m. yesterday.
Asked for an update on the impasse, the officer
said: “We are issuing passports that are ready and those with urgent tra-
vel matters that were rea-
dy. We did about 50 yesterday. We gave out a lot.
“Those with urgent travel matters like health, work and a family member dying were put on a special list. We were sympathetic to them. We put them on a list to expedite them.”
A stone’s throw from the Immigration Office is the Moonan Building, which was closed since June 10.
The officer added: “The Moonan Building tends to foreigners who want to extend their time here. It looks after the needs of people who are permanent residents and have to get their passports endorsed. It looks after those applying for student permits and those who want extensions. It serves the needs of people who want to apply for re-entry visas like Chinese and Nigerians who are entering the country. Nothing is happening with those services. Total lockdown.”
Meanwhile, other offices in Sangre Grande, Chaguanas, Point Fortin and Tobago remain closed.
11 days visiting office
“I got it.”
Petit Valley resident Glenn Massiah uttered those words of relief after getting his passport around 11.30 a.m. yesterday.
After 11 days of visiting the Immigration Office, Massiah could not get his passport to tend to his medical needs, but yesterday that changed.
He is now optimistic about travelling to New York, USA, on July 23 to seek the advice of an African specialist over his skin condition.
Massiah said: “ All the people who were sitting down there got theirs. Things ended up kind of good. The officer was helpful. Nobody had any complaints.”
Around 9 a.m. yesterday, a security guard said they were giving out passports and application forms. As far as the eye could see, the majority of chairs and cubicles were vacant. The snack and soft-drink dispensing machine was stacked.
The staff were however courteous and enquired how best they could help the few customers who were seated patiently in the waiting room.