Husbands: Passport now in 24
FOR?THE?FIRST?TIME, Barbadians can access a passport within 24 hours.
That is according to Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister With Responsibility For Immigration Senator Harry Husbands.
He was speaking in the Senate Wednesday during debate on the International Business (Amendment)?Bill which would adjust tax rates for international businesses.
“The days when it took ten weeks and one had to go down to the Immigration Department, wait in a line and [be] told to come back tomorrow, [have] been brought to an end,” Husbands said.
“You talk about innovation and creativity in business in Barbados? It is happening right here under this Government.”
Opposition Senator Kerrie Symmonds intervened, however, and said talk of accessibility to Barbados Passports was not relevant and meant nothing to those in the international business community.
“Who in the international business sector is seeking to get a Barbados Passport?” he asked. “Which of the Canadians practising in whatever sphere they are in, are interested in getting a Barbados Passport?
“What they want is to be able to get a driver’s licence and be able to go online and access the renewal of their driver’s licence and things like that that facilitate their business.”
Husbands reminded the Senate that Government efficiency was important to Barbadians.
“There is a view in Barbados that providing efficient services for Barbadians is not a priority and the fact that for the first time Barbadians can access a Barbados Passport in 24 hours is something that can’t be scoffed at.”
Husbands said it was sad that some held the view that efficiency only counted when dealing with foreign investors.
He said he was happy that for the first time the Immigration Department was able to produce statistics on work permits processed, the numbers and areas, which was unheard of before 2008.
Husbands assured the Senate that much was being done in relation to the policy of attracting high net worth individuals.
He said that one of the first things he did on assuming office was to invite members of the international business sector, to have discussions with them.
“This Government came to office, recognized what the challenges were and engaged various stake agencies and assessed the situation,” he said.
Husbands added that for 14 years, under the Barbados Labour Party, spouses of people who have work permits and worked for international business companies could not hold a driver’s licence. (MK)