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ECA on immigration woes: Non-renewal of passports could affect investments

Thursday, July 17, 2014
Photos: Abraham Diaz and Micheal Bruce

Businesspeople not being able to renew their passports impacts negatively on business in the country, said Suzetta Ali, chairman of the Employers Consultative Association (ECA).


“It will severely impact the business community if it continues. There are many multinationals in this country. In the absence of having your passport renewed and also those who have business in the regions, it severely impacts on them as well. People cannot conduct business in a time like this. People have planned their business travel and vacation and it impacts on people who have business trips. When people put off trips, it means a delay in business,” she told the Guardian on Monday.


Ali was speaking about the repercussions of the industrial relations dispute between the Government and the Public Services Association (PSA) that has resulted in workers at the Immigration Division working reduced hours over claims of health and safety issues at their workplace on Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain.


Ali said it is not only the business community that is impacted, but the entire country.


“You have students who are going abroad for studies. There are also some countries you cannot enter if your passport is not valid for six months. Those businesspeople who have their passports in there and cannot get it will be affected,” she said.


Ali said this could affect companies in search of new markets regionally and the region is already going through tough times.


“If you have new business and you are looking to access across the Caribbean, it could be affected. It is quite slow in the region. There is no secret Barbados is suffering drastically. If T&T companies are suppliers to the region and need to travel to secure business, you cannot do that if you do not have a passport.”