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Speedy passport renewals, tedious Legal Affairs

Monday, March 18, 2013

This week’s record and award for the speediest, most efficient process in the public service may go to the Immigration Division’s (Passport) office at Chaguanas for the renewal process—10 minutes flat. 



That surprising experience on Wednesday included intense scrutiny of documents and questioning. It appeared  the entire office was laid out and staff strategically placed for speedy, efficient operation with clerks and security officials quickly  processing and shepherding members of the public to various sections to conduct their respective business.


The process in that National Security division has come a long way since 2008 when the line of people applying for the first machine-readable passport began outside the Immigration office on Frederick Street, Port- of Spain, snaked all the way down the street and around TTEC’s building on Park Street—and that first-time application took all day. Heads up: If the office closest to you doesn’t have early appointments to do your passport business, it may be available at another regional office.


Now, if only the Legal Affairs Ministry’s Companies Registrar could tweak some of its companies’ laws into 21st century and allow company returns to be filed a week or three or so days before the  date of incorporation! It will encourage filing of returns and remove the stress from the current restriction of having to file only on the date of incorporation (or just after, claim clerks at the South Quay branch.) What if 1,000 other people in your area office have the same date of incorporation as you?


People are already “encouraged” to file on time due to the hefty penalties on company directors. Having  “encouraged” them to comply, hopefully Legal Affairs will rectify the situation to facilitate  citizens’ desire to comply with the law—and reinforce its recently trumpeted claim of making it easier to do business in T&T.


Gail Waller


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