The government is moving forward in its efforts to provide and extend passport services and facilities in the country. During his contribution to the mid-year budget communications on Wednesday, 10th March, Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Darren Henfield said that the online portal has been a success. He also said that the government is expanding services for Family Islanders with the opening of several passport offices on a few of the larger islands.
“I am pleased to report that our online services at the Passport Office has not only eliminated the debilitating and long lines at the Oakes Field Headquarters, but has also essentially nullified the impact of the Pandemic upon the delivery of Passports to Bahamians,” said Mr. Henfield. “I wish also to commend the managers and staff of both the Passport Office for their commitment to duty and the Bahamian people, as a core team remained on duty throughout the three-month emergency lockdown period to ensure that our online services continued unabated.”
He said that in December 2020, an additional feature was added to the online platform, which now allows for the renewal of E-passports for minors between the ages of 15-17 years. He noted that for the period of 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2021, the Passport office generated revenue amounting to six hundred and fifteen thousand, two hundred and fifty-five dollars (BSD 615,255).”
Further, he stated that the government has embarked on an aggressive mission to open up passport offices on several islands to boost services throughout the country.
“As an Island Boy, I am very pleased and gratified that on 12 February past, the Prime Minister officially opened a passport office in Exuma, allowing Exumians to stay at home and receive their Passports, resulting in tremendous savings to these families,” he said. “This is the first of several offices slated to be opened in other Family Islands in very short order.”
Just this past Friday, 12th March, the Prime Minister, along with Minister Henfield officially opened the Mathew Town, Inagua, Passport Office.
He said that this coming Thursday (18th March), another office is scheduled to be opened in Clarence Town, Long Island.
“Mr. Speaker, that will only leave the Eleuthera office to be opened in the coming weeks,” explained the Minister. “It is this government’s desire to further the decentralization of passport services by making Passports readily available and accessible to our brothers and sisters in the Family of Islands scattered across this archipelago of ours. More importantly, immediate access to passport services on our Family Islands significantly reduces and in many cases eliminates the costs and burdens associated with travel to New Providence to access such service.”
Bahamas Information Services
Written By Betty Vedrine