Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson said yesterday that he is hoping for the Department of Immigration to go cashless in the next two weeks.
“Very shortly, we’ll see cashless,” Johnson told The Nassau Guardian.
He added, “I’ve spoken to the person from the Ministry of Finance [and] I’m hoping that in the next two weeks, we’re cashless. There’s no need for people to be traveling with monies hidden on their person to come to the immigration department to pay their fees.”
The minister said the department is expected to also go paperless — as it relates to applications — within three months.
Last month, while speaking at a financial services virtual symposium, Johnson said the department was looking to “eliminate corruption” by going cashless.
“I cannot stress how vital tackling corruption in the Department of Immigration is to our agenda,” he said.
“It is a primary focus for us here at the ministry, and I am happy to report that we have created a new position to specifically accept and investigate complaints, and to root out corruption. This is not just conceptual.
“The Cabinet has discussed the need for such an officer and we are moving forward in the hiring process.”
The digitization of the department has been on the Minnis administration’s radar since assuming office in 2017.
While contributing to the budget debate in June 2018, then Immigration Minister Brent Symonette said the government was rolling out a new ID management system, which costs $18 million, “to address the inefficiencies of the current electronic identification documents system”.
According to Symonette, the system was expected to help the department “move to a paperless process with the digitization of files in order to reduce dependency on physical file movement and issues associated with this”.