Ria Rambally and Rosemarie Sant
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PSA shuts down passport offices
Staff at the Immigration Division — Port-of-Spain and San Fernando — have walked out of their offices on the advice of Public Service Association (PSA) president Watson Duke, because of faulty electrical wiring. The action left hundreds of people waiting to collect or apply for passports in limbo. While other passport offices handle applications for T&T passports, the documents are produced at the office on Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain.
Neither the Chief Immigration Officer nor National Security Minister Gary Griffith answered calls from the T&T Guardian yesterday. Anger flared and tears flowed outside the San Fernando Immigration Office as the gates to the building, at the corner of Knox and Hickling Streets, were shut around 8 am without the public being told why. A security officer faced the public’s wrath as he said it was shut until further notice.
A staff member who requested anonymity said over 50 people work at the office and for the past month they had been complaining about the faulty electrical system, without any redress.
“Nobody will work here unless this is fixed. Duke told us to shut it down and we shut it down,” he said.
Contacted on his cellphone, Duke said he would not jeopardise the safety of his comrades. Saying the Frederick Street office, where passports are produced, remains closed because a T&TEC worker was injured on the job on Monday. In relation to the San Fernando office, he said: “The building must be rewired. We are getting fluctuating electricity and it is only a matter of time that someone will get hurt.”
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