Wednesday, Aug 5, 2020
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Dames hints at new passport facilities

A large crowd stands in a line at the passport office. FILE

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Marvin Dames hinted yesterday that a new passport office may be forthcoming on New Providence.

He was standing in for Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the official launch of the Passport Office’s new e-passport renewal online portal.

Addressing officials in attendance at the event, Acting Chief Passport Officer Siobhan Deane said, “As you know, this state-of-the-art technology is second to none in this region.

“I ask that you observe our work environment and take note that we have outgrown this facility. And the state-of-the-art system is out of place in this building.”

Her comments earned loud applause and chuckles from Passport Office employees in attendance.

In June, Henfield acknowledged that the Passport Office has always been challenged with providing services in a building with inadequate space.

He also indicated that, at the time, government was considering decentralizing the office from its current site on University Drive.

During his address, Dames responded to Deane’s comment, saying: “I hear you, and I would like to assure you, as I stand before you here today, that your minister (Henfield) has been working very assiduously to ensure that a change comes.

“And so, we don’t have to keep our fingers crossed, this government is committed to improving the environment for all to work.

“Because you can introduce the best technology, the best equipment, but at the end of the day if that human factor is not impacted positively, or if that human factor is ignored, then you’re not going to maximize the results.”

Dames added, “And, so, I will make certain that I will share with the minister on his return the views and the feelings of most of all of you.

“But we’re grateful for the work that you continue to do.”

No timeline has been confirmed for a new office.

However, the launch of the e-passport renewal portal is intended to reduce long lines at the office and facilitate a “smoother, safer and faster” process for adult e-passport renewals. 

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