“Pay for your ignorance.” That is what Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had to say to lovers who destroy each other’s passports during quarrels.
And the price of that ignorance will be EC$300, CAD$225, US$225, or 100 pounds.
Gonsalves said on Tuesday at the launch of the e-passport that persons are not taking care of their passports.
“We are not taking care of our passports perhaps because we don’t charge enough for them,” Gonsalves said, adding that statistics about damaged passports are shocking.
“I tell you some numbers which will shock you, I am sure. Between 2012 November to 2013 November, the Immigration Department received 941 reports of damaged, lost or defaced passports … and that’s just one single year,” Gonsalves said.
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He said that in August 2012, the Passport Office received 25,000 passport books and only 8,201 remain.
“So between August 2012 and November 2013, notice that, just over one year, 16,799 passports were issued. And the express service which we implemented in March 2012 is being well patronized and all of that indicates how our people need a passport and the importance to move,” Gonsalves said.
“We have to increase the cost of replacement. We have too many people allowing their passport to be defaced or wet up. … The number of passports damaged or defaced because of problems between a man and a woman. The first thing the woman goes for is the man’s passport and does something to it, and vice versa.
“Brother [Standford] Hamilton (Chief Immigration Officer) will tell you, the examples are legion. Please, when you have a quarrel with your loved one, just leave the passport alone. Treat it like the Bible; don’t humbug it,” Gonsalves said.
He said that for applications in St. Vincent, the replacement fee will be EC$300.
It will be CAD$225, US$225, or 100 pounds, in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, respectively.
“Some people feel it should be more. So that when you, as a man, mash up your girlfriend passport, know that you have to pay 300 dollars to replace it.
“Because invariably it come back to the man has to replace it. So pay for your ignorance,” Gonsalves said.