Posted: Friday, October 14, 2022. 4:40 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: With ten days to go as of this writing to the implementation of the new electronic passport system on October 24, eyebrows are being raised at the price we may be asked to pay.
From a standard fee of $50 across the board, the proposed cost listed for a 10-year passport for an adult is $200; for a minor, for 5 years the price proposed is $150.
But Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Eamon Courtenay maintained to KREM News that his comments on October 1 to reporters still apply – the matter is currently before Cabinet.
He said then, “…there’s a debate, you know how these things are, people are living in very difficult times; is that an appropriate increase? The flip side of it is that we pay $20 million, we have to recover that money. Well, you could recover it over a longer period of time, so the long and short of it is we will settle on a price that Cabinet believes is reasonable having regard to the current circumstances and the need to recover the investment.”
More important in the eyes of the Immigration Department is the ease of service as Courtenay also said then: “I expect that those lines will disappear dramatically because you will be able to get your passport in your own district, there will be no need to come to Belmopan or Belize City so that will disappear by and large. The process will be an online application so you are applying online, you get an appointment and you go and deal with the passport so it’s not just a matter of pulling up on a Wednesday or a Thursday so it’s much more organized and structured so we expect that with modernization that corruption, petty corruption will disappear.”
He added, “It will be a safe, efficient process, the passport will be fully secure, the biometrics will be embedded in the chip and there will be no more Citizen Kims.”
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