Government agencies in this country are notoriously known for not providing any sort of efficient service, so much so, that no one likes to go and access any sort of facilities from any of them. Unfortunately, one has no choice but to go when one has to renew the all important identification cards, driver’s permit and passport.

In this age of technology, which is supposed to make things easier and much more accessible for citizens to renew or apply for these types of IDs, it appears to highly underutilised in these agencies. One such place is the immigration division. So, seeing that I had to renew my passport soon, I decided to go online to see what was required for renewal because I also hate to call their offices since the information you receive is never consistent and I usually have the urge to buss someone’s head for making me waste my time every time I call to find out what are the necessary requirements for whatever service I intend to access. It seems that this inconsistency is also transpiring into the online forum as well.

As I stated, I decided to check the website to see what documents I needed to renew my passport in addition to filling out the form. Indeed there was an area on the site which indicated what documents were required as well as the wonderful piece of information that persons renewing their passports need not make an appointment to see an officer at any of their locations. All one simply needed to do was to fill out the form, attach the necessary documents, walk with a legal sized envelope and just drop off all of this at any office of one’s choice. I could not believe it. Were my eyes deceiving me? They actually had something that made sense?

They also noted that the times for drop off is from 7 a.m. to 12 noon every day, Monday to Friday. Before making the drop off, you simply had to pay the necessary renewal fee and attach the receipt along with the rest of documents and then just drop it off and they would call and let you know when to collect. So, I organised everything and went to the head office so that I would be able to get back my stuff faster as opposed to going by one of the other sub-branches.

Needless to say, when I went, I was told at the information desk that drop off time was only at 7 a.m. in the morning and you had to STAY because you had to – get this – SEE AN OFFICER! Imagine my utmost surprise, annoyance and disgust when I heard this, while this sentiment was also echoed by another guy who was in line as well. He questioned them as to how they could advertise a service as a ‘drop off’ when in fact you still had to see an officer. Simply put, it was not a drop off. I in turn chimed in and further questioned as to why did the website state that the drop off time was from 7 a.m. to 12 noon and was told that that was a mistake, which needed to be rectified, which inevitably translates into that is never going to happen.

I decided to let the girl at the information desk check to see if my form was filled out properly because I really did not want to have to leave there and then have to return for 7 a.m. to wait for many hours to be told by an officer that it was incorrect. I would be extremely pissed off. Plus, she also noted that the forms needed to be printed back and front, an instruction that was also not on the website. This is why Trinidadians hate to have to do any business with any government organisations. They are the worst! Very inconsistent information all the time but this issue in question would be dealt with in more detail in a future post as it deals with another government institution, which had me running around like a headless chicken.

These government organisations need to get their shit together because we the citizens are tired of getting the runaround. Not to mention the Immigration Division of Trinidad and Tobago is promoting false advertising on their website touting a drop off service when in reality there is no such thing but yet another farce to successfully rope in unsuspecting citizens into another trap of wasting our precious time.