Sunday, Dec 15, 2019
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We must do better at the Passport Office

Dear Editor,

I begin by acknowledging the efforts of the staff at the Passport Office who are courteous and hardworking but lament the poor system that is in place to serve the Bahamian public.

I visited the office to renew passports for my children and arrived around 10 a.m. to find a mass of people waiting inside and outside, some standing, many with children. No numbers were available so I could not be served that day.

I was told to try come around 7 a.m.; I did so and met the same situation and was told persons had arrived from 4 a.m. and I should return next week.

Surely Bahamian taxpayers deserve to be served better by the public service and treated with dignity.

I appeal to the authorities to establish an online application, payment and appointment system and eliminate the need for applicants to bring in government-issued documents. Certainly if I provide my passport number, pertinent information, National Insurance number, the relevant government agencies can communicate with each other to verify my birth and anything else.

In the meantime, we can make the requirements for first-time passports, renewals, etc., universally available online and post the information in public spaces and inside and outside the Passport Office. Information desks at the Passport Office where persons can verify that they have the correct documents would also be useful.

As currently set up, it appears that we do not care about each other and I know that this is not the case. The time has come to provide this essential service in a dignified manner.

 

– Sonia Brown

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