Deputy Chief Immigration Officer (DCIO) Superintendent Dennis Stephens is alarmed at the spike in persons visiting the Central Immigration and Passport Office in Georgetown.
In recent days, scores of people have lined up outside of the Passport Office at Camp Street, Georgetown – an occurrence which has not happened, in this magnitude, in recent years.
Contacted for an explanation, Stephens expressed concerns in the number of people showing up at the Georgetown Office. He contended that many persons are not utilising the regional passport offices.
“What we have observed, there are two offices, one in Linden and one in Berbice… even though they live in those areas, they still come to town, and that is what really is the problem,” he explained.
The DCIO noted that on a daily basis, there are over 200 persons visiting the office.
“As recent as two weeks ago, we would have received 270 applicants per day, and that crowd would have been larger than this morning,” he revealed.
However, officials have developed a system to only process 100 applicants per day.
“Fifty in the morning, and 50 in the afternoon, to be able to solve the problem,” Stephens noted.
This mechanism came into effect last week.
Stephens also explained that many people are using their passports for business transactions, given that they are not in possession of identification cards. He noted too that there is still a large portion of the population which is travelling and need passports.
The DCIO lamented, however, that persons are not adhering to Covid-19 protocols when visiting the passport office.
“We would have indicated to persons to adhere to the COVID-19 protocol, persons are still breaching the guidelines,” he expressed.
Regional Passport Offices are located in Linden in Region Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice) and New Amsterdam in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
Lethem, Mabaruma, Anna Regina, Bartica, and Mahdia are expected to soon get regional passport offices.