Why is there a delay in passports?
Why is there a delay in getting a passport? That’s what many Belizeans have been asking after starting what has been described as a protracted and frustrating process. Minister of Immigration, Eamon Courtenay was asked about this yesterday and how soon will these setbacks disappear.
Eamon Courtenay ,Minister of Immigration: “If that passport system can be gamed by someone then we’ll have to have a serious discussion with the people who designed it in Canada because they have given us a very high level of assurance and I have used it and I have seen how it works so I am confident that we will not have any type of fraud with respect to passports. Very briefly we did an assessment of the amount of passports that were being processed and therefore we ordered passports on the basis of that plus in other words I don’t remember the exact figures right now but if we were processing five hundred per week we would have programmed for seven hundred so it was a significant amount in excess. As I have said before we clearly miscalculated the amount of demand and therefore the initial stock ran down far quicker. Now it’s not a store that you just go and buy the balance, we have to put in an order. We had orders programmed so we had to bring some forward which required them to stop printing the passports for some other country and put in ours and print some, send it to us so that we could continue. The long and short of it is that we have been restocked at the end of January. What we are concentrating on, and this is what is the cause for the delay, the cause for the delay has nothing to do with the amount of staff but remember when we ran out for all intents and purposes and we had a few but we used those sparingly but what happened is that people who had applied we couldn’t get their passports to them so we’re concentrating on delivering those passports in backlog to people who had applied a long time ago. Let me just be clear, at the same time there are people who have emergencies, people who have absolute need to travel, students going back to school, people traveling abroad for medical so on and so forth we will process and we are processing those. What we’re trying to do is to catch up as quickly as we can and then continue so dates are being given to people long, four five months as you said and then they contact us and say “but I have to go for so on” and then we say okay you come in next week and so we try to work with people on a case by case basis.”