Passport to Incompetence

Sunday 17th, June 2012 / 12:28 Published by

bahamian passportOn 3rd April, 2012, I went to put in for my daughter’s passport. I had original copies of everything I needed to get her passport, according to the form they gave me a few days prior. This form said NOTHING about certified copies, but I was sent to the registrar TWICE to get certified copies of two documents. The first time the lady at the passport office told me that I needed to go to the Registrar and get the certified copy of one particular document, I made it a point to ask her if there was anything else missing or anything else that needed to be done. She said no.

I went to the registrar, got the copy, and then went back to the Passport Office. By this time the lady I had spoken to on my first visit was not there, so I dealt with someone else. This second lady told me I need a certified copy of another document, once again I asked if there was anything else I needed to get. She said no, so I went back to the Registrar and got the second certified copy. By the time I left there it was too late to go back. Both times I calmly said okay and left and did what had to be done.

On 4th April, 2012 I took another day off from work and I returned to the Passport Office, with all the necessary documents in hand. The documents were reviewed a third time and then sent in the back. I was told to take a seat and wait for my daughter’s name to be called. We sat and waited. Her name was called, so we went to the window. The lady then informed me that my daughter had the wrong National Insurance Board (hereafter “NIB”) number, because that number was already attached to a passport. She printed out the information of the little boy whom she claimed was the owner of the number, for me to take to NIB.

I took that printout to NIB’s head office and was informed that I did have the correct number for my daughter. It was the little boy that was using the wrong number. At this point I was livid and asked if they could issue a new number for my daughter, I was told that NIB could not do that and that this was an issue the passport office would have to resolve.

I went back to the passport office with printouts from NIB showing that my daughter was the owner of that number and what the little boy’s real number actually was. The lady behind the window then said and I quote “Oh well she can’t get a passport.” I was furious and said a few things to her before calling my boss. After I had told him what had happened, he told me he would call right back. He returned my call ten minutes later and asked me to give her the phone. She then walked off with my cell phone and apparently took it to the person in charge. She then gave me back my phone and told me to have a seat.

She must have gone in the back offices to speak with her supervisor, because she disappeared and returned an hour later. Their solution was that they would put in a fake number so that her file could be processed. They also said that they would attach notes to my daughter’s file and the file of the little boy so that upon renewal he would be made aware that he had the wrong NIB number. She put in the fake number, gave me a print out and said that the application had been sent in and would begin to be processed. I paid for it and thought everything was fine. I thought the problem was solved.

The collection date on the receipt is the 10th May, 2012. I decided to wait a few days and I returned to the passport office today 23rd May, 2012 and was informed that her passport had not even been processed because of the NIB number conflict.

I was at the point where I was furious, frustrated and hurt. I am trying to figure out how something like this happens.

  • How does a passport get issued to someone with fraudulent information?
  • How did it not show up in their system that the NIB number and the boy’s name did not match?
  • NIB numbers are issued based on sex and date of birth, so how did a boy born 2 months after my daughter get issued a passport using her NIB number?
  • I was informed of the processes that a passport application has to go through before it is processed. I am thoroughly confused as to how this wrong NIB number went through all of these processes and was not discovered.
  • I was also informed that the system is set up to show an error every time the incorrect name is used with a NIB number or the incorrect NIB number with a name. If this is the case how did his passport application go through?
  • Why was I not informed that the passport application had not been processed as yet?

The most important question is: Now that he was already issued a passport using my daughter’s NIB number how will this be rectified and when will my daughter get a passport that she is entitled to?

It is not fair to me that because of mistakes or fraudulent behavior at either NIB or the Passport Office that a child born in The Bahamas to a Bahamian mother should be in limbo and not be able to travel.

After pursuing the matter, by making numerous calls to the Passport Office and leaving numerous messages I finally received a call at 4:10pm on 24th May, 2012. Unfortunately the lady I was speaking with was unable to locate my daughter’s file.

At 9:10am 25th May 2012, we called the head of the Passport Office and were told by him that he did not know why her passport was not processed as yet but that we could come and collect the passport at 11:00am. I then received a call at 9:20am that same morning from the Passport Office and was informed that her file was located but the printouts from NIB could not be found. It seems to me as though someone is trying to cover themselves and took out the printouts. The lady I spoke with said she would try to locate the files and if she was unsuccessful she would call to let me know so that I could get new ones.

I called the Passport office at 11:00am and was told that the printouts had been located and that the file had been sent upstairs for processing. I called again at 2:40pm and was told that the passport was completed and just needed a signature. I was told that I will be able to pick up the passport on Tuesday 29th May, 2012 at 12pm. I was able to collect the passport.

I can only imagine what would have happened, had I not known people that know the people in the head offices at the Passport Office. I do not think that this is a onetime thing. I believe that this has happened before and probably will happen again, the purpose of this letter is to draw attention to the issue that can have very negative consequences. I was one of the lucky people that got my issue resolved; others may not have been or may not be so lucky.

By: Concerned Citizen

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