During the interview with Prime Minister John Briceno today in Los Angeles California he was asked about a concern that Belizeans in the diaspora have been experiencing for quite some time now. Belizeans living in the US say they have been having a difficult time getting their passports renewed. PM Briceno explained the challenge.
John Briceño, Prime Minister: “I’ve been talking to Ms. Gentle and also to the CEO and the Minister and they are very happy with the work that she has been doing. I know the issue, as you mentioned earlier, is the issue of passports but as you know, when we got into Government, we inherited a passport system that was obsolete. The company is not even making the parts, they’re not even making the software to manage the passport system. The past Government was fully aware of it. On two occasions they tried to address it but they refused to spend that money to be able to address that. We took the bull by the horns and decided that we have to come up with a new system. We paid a company to be able to do that. It’s a modern system that includes your biometrics. But to be able to put your biometrics in the passport, it requires micro chips and you all know, I’m sure you know well enough, that there is a shortage for microchips in the world and because of that, they were unable to deliver in, for July and now they’re thinking about October that they plan to deliver this new system for the passports for our citizens. So whenever anybody starts to go get their passport, I tell them, unless it’s an emergency, just wait a few more months and we will be able to get the new passports and so the people in the diaspora, I know, they’re trying to get a passport but the system is not working. It’s something that we inherited and we’re fixing it by putting in a new system.”