Monday, February 19, 2018

Woman begs for three sons’ passports


HELP NEEDED: Candace Griffith with her twins Aiden and Jayden in stroller and Malik outside the Immigration office yesterday on Knox Street, San Fernando. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Mark Fraser

CANDACE GRIFFITH  stood outside the Immigration Division office in San Fernando yesterday with her three infant sons, begging someone to help her get her travel documents.

She was turned away, with no official stepping forward to tell her or other citizens when they could expect relief.

Griffith said she had planned a trip to Barbados next month and her sons needed valid passports. Her eldest child is renewing his and her one-year-old twins should be getting their first passports.

Griffith said she had an appointment for 8 a.m. to meet with staff but when she arrived the gate to the building, it was locked.

Griffith  is just one of the many frustrated persons who for weeks have been trying to get their travel documents issues sorted out, but caught up in the industrial action being staged by workers on the advice of their union, the Public Services Association (PSA). 

Government went to court last Thursday and obtained an injunction preventing protest action, but the workers have defied the order, and stayed away for a second day yesterday.

One person exclaimed: “This is the worst ever!” before leaving with dozens of other disappointed people.

Akesha Decruz, a Guyanese national, had to cancel her flight to Guyana three times because she has been unable to collect a passport for her ten-month-old son who was born in Trinidad.

She  is expected to travel to her home in Georgetown, Guyana  this weekend. So far, she spent $600 to make her flight changes.

Decruz said: “I could understand if they want to close. But at least tell us what is going on so we wouldn’t be waiting here in vain. Nobody is telling us anything. I applied in March for my son’s                                                  passport and I cannot get it.”

When the Express attempted to speak with a staff member on the compound, she said she was not authorised to say anything but to direct all questions to the plain clothed  police officer at the entrance. The officer also told the Express he was not authorised to give any information.

Highway Patrol officers kept watch nearby.

Citizens are calling on the government to intervene since many have planned to travel during this July/August vacation, the main travel season.

A doctor from India working at the Port of Spain General Hospital told the Express of his plight.

He said: “I travelled  from Port of Spain this morning to come here. I was here since 6.40 a.m. I just need a stamp on my passport. I have been waiting four weeks for it. I don’t know what’s going on. I just have to come back another time.”


Point Fortin Mayor, Clyde Paul said because of the problems at the San Fernando office, persons seeking assistance were bombarding the Immigration Division office in Point Fortin. He said that office was fully operation from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

 Paul said: “Right now, the Immigration office in Point Fortin is the best. Everybody is coming to us for assistance. However, if the problems keep occurring in San Fernando, then the staff members here will begin to feel the strain.”