The following statement was released on Thursday, August 5, 2022 by Jarion Richardson, Deputy Leader of the One Bermuda Alliance & Shadow Minister for Labour & The Cabinet…
Has Economy and Labour Minister Jason Hayward taken steps to action his promises of the elimination of excessive waiting times on passports?
The Government’s inefficiencies are depriving Bermudians of the fundamental right to freedom of movement as promised in the constitution.
On July 1, he promised additional staff at the Department of Immigration to clear the backlog of passport applications. He attributed the backlog to the United Kingdom, specifically changes made in 2016 and 2021.
In the case of the 2016 requirement, it is shocking that the Ministry has not yet administratively adapted to provide why someone is eligible for a passport to Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO). And insofar as the 2021 change, requiring the Ministry to determine whether an applicant is a dual British citizen, such expertise should not be so difficult to acquire. Indeed, if anyone should have such expertise it should be the Department of Immigration.
It’s clear that the primary issue is not the quadrupling of passport applications but the inability to adapt to change.
Bermudians also have the option of renewing their British passports online with HMPO directly, with a turnaround of between eight and 10 weeks.
Why then, is it taking so much longer via the Department of Immigration. Perhaps Bermuda should look at UK‘s passports distribution channels.
It’s now been a month since Mr Hayward promised additional staff and the return of passport processing times to 11 weeks. Has any progress been made?