Chief passport officer says application process has gotten smoother
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Passport Office’s Issuance Department has raised concern over the nearly 1,900 uncollected passports which were applied for by renewal applicants and has called on applicants to collect their passports to clear the passport backlog.
Siobhan Dean, chief passport officer, told Eyewitness News Onlinethat up to two weeks ago there was a backlog of over 3,000 passports that were already processed and waiting for collection.
She confirmed the number decreased to a little under 1,900 last week; but said the figure was still too high.
Darnell Ferguson, supervisor in the Passport Office Issuance Department, confirmed “We have 1,845 passports waiting to be picked up.”
“We have the passports ready; we have the staff to assist them, but no one is coming to pick up the passports,” she said.
“We only have so much storage, so we need these persons to come and collect their national documents.”
This is a new kind of problem for the Passport Office.
In months past, numerous Bahamians seeking to renew their e-passports complained that the process was much too difficult as they now had to provide certain documents not previously required.
Dean the introduction of new computerized process at the department has improved efficiency and turnover.
“Applicants no longer have to bring in a large number of documents,” she said.
“Now they only have to bring in their application form and three other documents.
“If there is a need for other documents, we will liaise with the other government agencies where necessary.”
Applicants no longer have to make the trek to other government agencies themselves with the department liaising on their behalf.
Dean said the new computer platform is a pilot program that’s being operated by the Office of the Prime Minister’s digitization department.
“They’re responsible for creating the platform that will allow us to communicate with other government agencies via the computer,” she said.
“So, once that has come on stream that will assist us greatly.”
Applicants renewing their passport must submit an application form, their old passport, national insurance card and two photos.
In contrast to the disgruntled applicants who complained on long lines earlier this year, Dean said applicants have been singing a completely different tune more recently.
“The response from the customers so far has been positive because we have had a crowd, but it’s been a more manageable crowd,” she noted.
Dino Mills, who was renewing his expired passport, told Eyewitness News Online that he was satisfied with the process.
“It has gotten smoother,” Mills said.
“It’s been very good, fast and efficient.
“I’m 100 per cent pleased.”