Scores leave Sando without passports
Wednesday, July 9 2014
For yet another day scores of persons who had gone to collect their passports or apply for a new one left the Immigration Division offices in San Fernando empty-handed.
Despite an Industrial Court injunction, workers at immigration offices have been staying away citing unsafe working conditions.
From as early as 6.30 am, more than 100 persons gathered at the Knox Street, San Fernando building hoping the office would open to facilitate them. After waiting for hours outside they left.
For almost three weeks now the San Fernando offices have been closed to the members of the public seeking to access services. It is unclear why the San Fernando office has been closed. A sign which was stuck to the wall two weeks ago stated the office would be closed until further notice. Despite the notice workers could be seen inside the building prompting one frustrated customer to ask the security guard posted at the locked gate, “If the building unsafe, what they doing inside?”
“Hush your mouth,” he retorted. He later advised customers they should watch the news to get their information.
One man who had journeyed to the Immigration Division office in Port-of-Spain only to be told he should go back to San Fernando began to shout when he realised the gates were locked.
The irate man who said he was an interpreter for the Ministry of National Security said his son’s deadline for stay in the country had expired and he was now an illegal immigrant.
The man said he was told by officers in Port-of-Spain that his son’s matters would be dealt with at the San Fernando office yesterday. Many of those gathered outside the office were responding to automated text messages that informed them their passports were ready to be collected.
The message read:“Your passport is ready for collection. Bring along receipt and old passport (if applicable) for collection. Please ignore if already collected.”
One Point Fortin woman, who appeared weary, said she is due to fly to Miami on Friday for an important doctor’s appointment. She received the text message two weeks ago and has been to the office three times before yesterday, all to no avail.A Jamaican woman who wanted to apply for an extension of stay because she gave birth to a baby girl 11 days ago also left disappointed.