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Home Affairs Minister Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte has advised citizens that there’s no need to rush to obtain Saint Lucia’s new e-passports, as existing travel documents are due for renewal after expiry.
“They can use the passport they have now until it expires. They can travel on it,” the Babonneau MP told reporters on Tuesday on the sidelines of a meeting of parliament.
But she explained that some people seem not to have received the message.
“I am hoping that this time they get it clear that there’s no need to rush to get the e-passports because they can use their machine-readable passport until it expires,” Albert-Poyotte stated.
She asserted that thousands of passports do not expire in the same week or on the same day.
“it’s just a few and sometimes they come in the morning and you see a long line, but by before midday, the line is back to normal. It is something that can be managed,” Albert-Poyotte told reporters.
“We are getting rumours of some malpractices,” she said in response to a question regarding people selling spaces in the queue at the Immigration Department.
“I do not want to conclude it as facts, but we know some people are using all kinds of tricks. There are some people I understood who are getting some false travel itinerary to indicate that they have to travel urgently and after they have gotten their passport they cancel their travel,” Albert-Poyotte noted.
In this regard, the Minister advised that Saint Lucians should not engage in such devious behaviour.
“We are trying out best to help them and therefore they should stop,” Albert-Poyotte declared.
She said if people are selling spots in queues, it’s part of the malpractices and tricks giving the impression that the lines at the Immigration Department are extremely long.
“Everybody who needed their passport to travel so far has not complained that they did not get their passports,” she stated.
Headline photo: Queue outside Immigration Department Office on July 26, 2022