10 Jul 2008

Dunceys in immigration

Although my passport is due to expire in January 2014, I was told by an immigration officer that, because it is "non-machine-readable", I could only use it until January 2009.

As I plan to travel to the US in October/November of this year, I called TTPost and was given an appointment for an interview regarding the renewal of the passport.

It was set for noon on Friday, July 4. I arrived at the Immigration Office in San Fernando at 11.45 a.m. on that day; I was given ticket No. 939 and told to wait my turn (the number being served at the time was 894). I enquired why I had to wait so long in spite of having been given a fixed time for my appointment.

No explanation was given.

Approximately three hours later my number was called.

In less than a minute, the interviewing officer started to query my maiden name and my father's first name on the marriage certificate. According to her, my (Hindu) surname was broken into two words and I would have to get an affidavit to make it "correct". She then went on to say that my father's first name was incorrectly spelt.

At this stage, I asked her to tell me all the errors so that I could write them down. While I was asking, she told me that she did not have time and I should go to a Commissioner of Affidavits and he would know what to do. She stated that she wanted to see another applicant and gave me another appointment for August 15.

I tried to make enquiries: about when I would receive my new passport, about the implications for renewal of passports in Washington, about the documents required for a citizen-by-descent. The officer stood up and informed me that she had already said that she was not going to answer any more questions.

I left-after spending less than ten minutes in my "interview".

It must be stated here that the marriage certificate in question was issued 32 years ago and it has been used to:

- change my name at my place of employment (a very reputable financial institution)

- change my name on my passport which was first issued in 1967

- change my name at the National Insurance Board and also to file for pension benefits

- change my name at the Board of Inland Revenue.

- change my name on my driver's permit

- obtain my new computerised birth certificate (which the young lady accepted!)

After 32 years during which this document has been scrutinised at several agencies by officers who found no inaccuracies, how is it that this immigration officer has been able to locate some very serious errors that prevent me from having my passport renewed?

Very Frustrated

via e-mail

I am wondering how on earth that duncey immigration officer could determine that the person's father's name is spelt incorrectly? Or that the person has a surname 'broken up'? Suppose that's how they wish it to be spelt and pronounced? Is this duncey showing her own bias and attempting to change the world to meet her own perception of how things should be?

Only in Trinidad you could meet this kind of dotishness and have a duncey get away with it. it is time we publish the names and photos of these idiots and shame them into some sense!

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