Categorized | National News

Slow Passport Collection Upsets Henfield

Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield is not too pleased with the rate in which Bahamians are collecting their e-passports from the Passport Office, and although he acknowledged that the location may not be as ideal, he encouraged persons to collect their documents.

“I am very happy with the progress of my staff with this regard, but I am not happy with the rate of which the Bahamian public is taking advantage of the services that we provide,” Mr. Henfield said.

“You will appreciate that it takes some effort on our part to make this site available and to send staff, [and] move staff from the main Passport Office to this place to accommodate what we anticipated would be much larger crowds especially, as we anticipated the summer rush that we normally see in The Bahamas.

“I don’t know if the placement of this site provides somewhat of a burden on our people to get here and I would like to get some feedback from the general public in that regard.

“You would realize that the bus systems don’t quite run all the way from Carmichael Road to Anatol Rodgers, so we’d like some feedback from the public in that regard.”

Mr. Henfield further said that suggestions and feedback can be sent directly to the Chief Passport Officer Superintendent Clarence Russell.

“They can very easily send their messages to the chief passport officer, Mr. Russell in the passport office to see if we in future have to make further adjustments to this site and other things that we are doing to try and service the general public,” Mr. Henfield said.

Not wanting their efforts to go in vain, Mr. Henfield urged Bahamians to collect their documents as he stated that what they had anticipated in moving to the collection center had not materialized.

“I’m told that our anticipation has not been realized in this regard and we would like to encourage the Bahamian public, if you have an e-passport to collect, to please come down to the Anatol Rodgers Gymnasium and retrieve your passport,” Mr. Henfield said.

When asked how long some passports have been ready for collection, Chief at the Passport Office Clarence Russell noted that e-passports had been in their possession since 2009 and stated that persons have suggested that they feel their documents are safer there if they are not traveling.

He also stated however, that passports are often ready before the collection date given and the holders are not aware of this fact.

“We have passports here from about 2009/2010, persons are reluctant to come,” Mr. Russell said.

“People have suggested that they are safer with us if they are not traveling, they are few and apart.

“The challenge is since January when we crossed over, the passports are ready before the actual collection date so we are notifying people, look, don’t wait for your collection date, come down and check because it’s available in most instances before your collection date.”

The Passport Office has been issuing electronic passports since December 2007, but many Bahamians were still using their Legacy passports.

However, in “February of 2016, the international deadline for all handwritten passports expired creating a rush for passport offices throughout the Commonwealth,” Mr. Henfield said.

To-date of the 3,000 plus ready e-passports, 1,516 has been collected from the center since the operation began at Anatol Rodgers on July 3.

The center is opened through the end of July; however according to Mr. Henfield, that date may be extended through August.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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