ID-cards process still in a slump

POSTED: 12/19/11 2:12 AM

St. Maarten -The Head of the Civil Registry Leona Marlin-Romeo is still waiting for a response from the Immigration Department’s management to begin issuing documents for people under the Brooks Tower Accord. “We are still waiting for the information so that we could determine what are the “key factors” to identify the correct documents that are being issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Department,” said Marlin.
“We have not accepted any Brooks Tower documents because we need key identification marks which have to be consistent. You cannot come with one document and another person comes with another document because this will be irresponsible.”
Marlin said that she had a meeting with the Immigration and Naturalization Services in November and that she left with promises to have the relevant information available. To date nothing has happened. “Once we receive that information we will proceed accordingly,” said Romeo-Marlin.
Marlin’s office received a new machine to print identification cards that relate to St. Maarten and not to the Netherlands Antilles anymore. She said that the ID-cards are not immediately issued upon request because processing the information takes some time.
“We have a new process in place and even though it is nice to have one stop shopping whereby people could pick up their documents immediately, this is now seen as irresponsible since this opens doors for fraud,” she said. There are certain mechanisms and procedures in place to verify the information that is given before the cards are printed.
“The new procedure is that applicants must first visit the office and pay the fees; then they get a date for picking up the document. Presently there is a delay, Marlin said, because of a backlog. She intends to begin the New Year without any backlog and has extended the offices’ hours to serve the public on Thursdays and Fridays.

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