The Government is preparing to replace the Immigration Department's Passport System. As viewers are aware, the PM has already publicly criticized the former government for allowing this vital system to lapse into obsolescence.
Today, he told his fellow parliamentarians that his government will seek to replace it with a 20-million dollar passport system:
Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"Madam Speaker, I rise to present and lay on the table sessional paper #HR 25/1/13, the acquisition of a new passport system."
"The Present passport system that the UDP left us with is obsolete. It's falling apart. There are no parts for it. There is no servicing for it. The cameras are not working. They're telling us sometimes you have to take 5-6 pictures for it to be able to get one good picture. Our citizens living in the United States and living in the UK and others areas could no longer apply for a passport. They have to come all the way to Belize, simply because the UDP Government was not prepared to do what is right, which was to upgrade the passport system. And they knew about it you know, Madam Speaker. There was a Cabinet paper - I think it was in 2019, when the Minister of State brought the paper, explained to them what was happening. But, they decided to do nothing about it. Now, because of their negligence, we have to try to find monies, after you all already squandered everything, monies that we could have used to get people back to work, the children back to school, and to be able to pay our public officers, we have to be using this money to upgrade a passport system that is necessary for us. We can't hold it back any longer. And it's going to be a modern system. It's going to be expensive no hell. It's going to cost 10 million US dollars over the next 5 years, and it's going to cost that much also because it will include the blank passport that we'll be getting, modern passport books that will be embedded with microchips in it. Now, we're going to put all of your information in your passport. It will have all the security features, so that when you go anywhere in the world, like for instance the European Union. They're saying they're prepared now to accept our passports as being secured."
Today's paper on this passport system was accepted as is, and so, the next step is for the government to find the finance to purchase it.