Passport hike pushed back
As chaos reigned at offices of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) across the island yesterday, the Government announced it has pushed back the implementation of its new fee structure to June 1.
The new fees, which will see some services going up by 40 per cent, were scheduled to take effect next Tuesday.
The PICA and the Government have come under heavy criticism for the short notice as well as the level of increases.
National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who has ministerial responsibility for PICA, said following a meeting yesterday morning with officials of the agency, it was decided that the implementation date would be pushed back.
The minister further said an additional location would be set up in the Corporate Area to process passports to deal with the high demand.
Bunting noted, however, that there would be no rollback of the fees, as the increases were justified.
He noted, among other things, that the last increase was in 2009 and that many passport holders readily pay high fees to buy plane tickets to travel overseas.
From next Tuesday until Friday, PICA will accept and process passport applications at the National Indoor Sports Centre, starting at 6 a.m. each day.