LONG ISLAND – Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis opened another satellite passport office on Friday 19 March as part of the Government’s initiative to strengthen family island communities by investing in services and infrastructure.
The newest Passport Office, located in Clarence Town, is the third to be opened across the Family Islands within just over one month. Other offices were recently opened on the islands of Exuma and Inagua.
“We are fostering dynamic environments for you: to take greater advantage of economic and commercial opportunities and to improve the quality of lives in these communities and to incentivize family islanders remaining in their island homes while enticing others back to our Family Islands,” said Prime Minister Minnis at the official opening ceremony.
“That is why my government is committed to equity and fairness in the availability of various public services throughout the Commonwealth.”
The Prime Minister said the residents of Long Island should not be unduly disadvantaged because they live outside one of the urban centers of the country.
With the opening of the new office, island residents will now be able to enroll for new passports, renew expired passports and use biometric fingerprinting without the expense and inconvenience associated with traveling to New Providence.
Turnaround time for receipt of a passport is between five and seven days.
“Because we are an island-chain, the decentralization of services and the development of our Family Islands remains an essential part of national economic development,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its pacesetting role in deploying digital and electronic applications to allow citizens to access critical services. Since being launched in February 2017, more than 138,000 Bahamians have been enrolled in the system.
Also taking part in Friday’s opening ceremony was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Darren Henfield, Long Island MP, Mr. Adrian Gibson, ministry and Passport Office officials and local government officials.
Prime Minister Minnis took the opportunity to urge residents of Long Island to take the vaccine when it becomes available to them.
“With the COVID-19 vaccines and the end of the emergency phase of the pandemic, I want the Bahamian people to get ready,” said the Prime Minister.
“I need you to take a vaccine when it is available to you. The vaccines are safe. They are effective. Millions of people have received the vaccines around the world. We must also continue to wear masks and to follow the health guidelines because the pandemic is not over.”