Chief Immigration Officer, Stanford Hamilton, says all SVG passports can be accounted for. (IWN photo)

Chief Immigration Officer, Stanford Hamilton, says it is not possible for one person to run a passport racket, as had been suggested in the aftermath of the recall of former deputy consul general Edson Augustus.

“From the passport Office, I am not aware that there is any issues, period, where passports are being sold to anyone who is not a citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, because, of course, you have to pay for the passport when you get it; but outside of the regular procedure, I can’t say that there is any issue where passports are being sold,” he told I-Witness News in an interview on Thursday.

“This is the only place that deals with passports and I can assure you that all of the passports that are issued to St. Vincent and the Grenadines can be accounted for,” Hamilton further said in the interview at his office in Kingstown.

He told I-Witness News that there are about six different processes, including an examination by the Ministry of National Security, before a passport is issued.

“It is not possible, from my view, for one individual to run such a racket. From time to time, we hear of such allegations, but allegations are what they are.

“For those of us who are aware and who know the system, must recognize that the system is not that easily penetrated,” Hamilton, a career law enforcement agent who once headed the Special Branch, told I-Witness News.

He said that in 2005, in keeping with the recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the government reduced the issuing sites for passport, to one — St. Vincent.

Previously, there were also issuing sites in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

Hamilton said that Vincentians in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States who wish to renew their passports have to submit the old passport, their birth certificate, an application form, any other documents relating to the individual that the immigration may require — such as marriage certificates, deed polls, affidavit, and the requisite fee.

He said the documents are then shipped to St. Vincent, where they are entered into the system and checked against the old and new passport systems.

If there is an issue regarding the application, for instance, if it comes without a birth certificate, it I immediately put on hold and the consulate is informed about the query and asked to have the person submit the requisite document.

If all the documents are in order, the application moves through the system, accordingly.

“You have about six processes before the supervisor actually reviews and agrees that everything is in order relating to the application. The passport is then printed,” Hamilton told I-Witness News.

The printed passports are examined by the Ministry of National Security and then sent back to the passport office for shipment, Hamilton told I-Witness News.

He said there is a lot of ignorance regarding who is entitled to hold a Vincentian passport.

“… citizenship is not only for persons born in St. Vincent. The law provides that if you marry a Vincentian that you have an entitlement. … unless you come with that understanding, you will always believe that nobody else should hold a passport,” he said.

Hamilton said that the Ministry of National Security continues to look for way to strengthen its security capacity.

“That is why they are moving towards the E-passport. It is not there is anything inherently wrong with the passport… But, from the point of view of the passport office, understanding its commitment to migration, and its commitment to live up to the treaties that it signed on to, you have a constant re-examination of the passport.”

He said that the e-passport, to be introduced here soon, would be even more secure, since it will contain a chip that contains the holder’s biodata.

“There are much more integrated issues which I can’t go into but basically that’s what it is. The chip is able to be read by another other border security and the information that is placed there in relation to your bio data can be seen and so on, but it cannot be changed. So the passport becomes extremely modernised and full, in terms of security.”

Hamilton further said that he was not aware of persons collecting more than the gazetted fee for processing a passport.

“All changes within the gazettes are sent to all of the consulates, and like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, all of the consulates are expected to follow the rule of law.”

The gazette fees for processing a passport, based on the point of application, are: EC$80 in St. Vincent, 40 pounds in the United Kingdom, US$80 in the United States, and $75 Canadian Dollars in Canada.

12 replies on “All passports issued to SVG can be accounted for — immigration chief”

  1. More talking without saying nothing. The question that was asked was whether any passports were issued to people of hostile terrorist states? All the information above mean nothing when the Prime Minister can just grant anyone he sees fit a Passport.

    Just answer the damn question, Are Iranians, Nigerians, Morrocans or any other states that the PM support in the UN and consider his friends. Do any of there citizens get a hold of our passport while Mr Augustus was in New York? That’s all we want answer, everybody in vincy these days just like to talk all day without saying anything.

    1. Take a look in the mirror first Blane, as you too, is saying absolutely nothing. I would follow the say that goes: “it is often best to maintain your silence and is suspected of being ignorant, than to open your mouth and prove it to be true.”

    2. Blaine,

      I hope you count yourself amongst those you described as “like to talk all day without saying anything.” You too, is running your mouth and saying absolutely nothing. Your comments amount to ankle high waters (shallow) that from a distance are mistaken for a deep lake (an illusion). You might take heed to the saying that: “it is always wise to maintain your silence and is suspected of being ignorant, that to open your mouth and confirm those suspicions. Just some unsolicited advice!

      1. Vincentians too fronted. Betty I was speaking to Mr Hamilton about our passport, and since you are like to talk so much maybe you might have the answer for us.

        Do any of there citizens get a hold of our passport while Mr Augustus was in New York?

        If you can’t answer that then keep your mouth shut next time.

        Is your Name Mr Hamilton?

  2. So Mr Hamilton, who instructed for the Diplomatic passport to be issued a man called Morgan in 2001?

    Who instructed your department to issue that passport?

    He wasn’t a diplomat, he never worked for the government in the past or present, so why did he get a doplomatic passport?

  3. Now that you are starting to speak the truth that no one person can run the passport racket. Would you please tell this court how many of you are involved and how it is done?

  4. There are even Jamaican, who is not married to a Vincentian carrying a St. Vincent passport . Sanford what the requirements one must meet to become a resident of St. Vincent .

  5. Urlan Alexander says:

    When the consular office sends ‘supporting documents’ for a passport to the passport office in SVG I am sure that Mr. Hamilton expects due diligence on the part of the consular office. So a passport issued under such circumstances can be accounted for but the question is in whose hands does this passport end up? You may never know.

  6. weather the information from Mr Hamilton is true or not we won’t know. only the accuse and his counterparts along with the most high knows what went on, Mr Binose I think you should hold a portfolio in st Vincent because I think you knows about all the negative that comes from that country.

  7. Aunty Betty You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but I know for a fact that other people who are not Vincentians or married to Vincentians get our passports. I didn’t ask you anything so I don’t know why you are replying to me.

Comments are closed.