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‘Multiple support channels will ease long lines @ Immigration Dept’- Kevon S. Lettsome

- urges Gov't to give his proposal a try
Youth leader and community activist, Mr Kevon S. Lettsome has been paying attention to the issues affecting the Territory even while studying overseas and has since proposed a solution he believes can make a difference at the Department of Immigration. Photo: Provided
Persons outside of the Department of Immigration more than an hour before opening hours during last week. Photo: VINO/File
Persons outside of the Department of Immigration more than an hour before opening hours during last week. Photo: VINO/File
After mounting pressure from the public on the daily frustrations experienced at the Department of Immigration, Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) announced a couple of changes on February 16, 2018 which he said will resolve the current issues of long lines and waiting times. Photo: VINO/File
After mounting pressure from the public on the daily frustrations experienced at the Department of Immigration, Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) announced a couple of changes on February 16, 2018 which he said will resolve the current issues of long lines and waiting times. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- A young Virgin Islander and community activist, currently furthering his studies overseas, has proposed a solution to the long lines at Immigration Department.

On a daily basis more than a hundred persons are turned away by the Department of Immigration due to it being unable to handle the amount of customers that show up, mainly for extensions on their visas while their work permits are being processed.

Members of the public show up sometimes before 4:00 A.M. in the hope of being among the lucky ones to receive a number for service. Many, who even show up before opening hours, have to come back another day.

Their frustrations are expressed daily on the BVI Community Board on Facebook.

A possible solution

Youth leader, who hails from the East End community, Kevon S. Lettsome, has been paying attention to the issues even while overseas and has since proposed a solution he believes can make a difference.

According to Mr Lettsome, since, the most catastrophic event in the territory’s history, Hurricane Irma, many have found it easy to criticise, rather than offer solutions; however, that does not mean he is letting elected personnel off the hook, for they should’ve anticipate an increase in line lengths and wait times at various departments.

Mr Lettsome is proposing that the government and its departments strengthen their support team, especially at the Immigration Department.

The young man explained that the Immigration Department, for example, can implement multiple support channels. He added there can be three main locations for the support channels and a number of sub locations throughout the territory.

The main locations, Lettsome said, can be in Road Town, West End, East End and Virgin Gorda. The sub locations can be in places like the ports of entries at the airport on Beef Island and cruise pier in Road Town.

“Please note that person from the other nearby islands will have to come over to Tortola or Virgin Gorda to the closest location, which is convenient for them. Nevertheless, the department can run the support channels system for a few months. In addition to this, an avenue for employment will then be opened. What the department can also implement is temporary employment to man these locations. At these support channels, persons will be able to get the same services that were being offered at the Department of Immigration.”

‘System will bring efficiency, satisfaction & mostly shorter lines’

Mr Lettsome is encouraging Government to consider his proposal, which he said can only result in success if tried.

“I believe this system can work and we can only find out, if we try it. This system will bring efficiency, satisfaction and mostly shorter lines.”

Mr Lettsome argued that research has showed this is a system that the Florida Department of Children and Families has used since the passage of Hurricane Irma.

“Time has change and we need to piggy back the best practices from the United States, as the United States is a big nation. However, I am not saying everything that worked for them may work for us but I am certain this will work.”

Premier Smith’s proposals

It was on February 16, 2018 that Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) announced two changes which he believes will help to ease the long wait and lines at the Department of Immigration.

“We have therefore decided that as of Monday, February 19, [2018] any company can have their work permits processed for the employees by having all the documents for the employees sent from the company directly to the Immigration Department. This would also apply for the owners or managers of companies.”

Dr Smith added that Government is also now testing an online application process for entry permits and “we expect this to be up and running within the next few weeks.

“Again, this will add to the efficiency of the application process at the Immigration Department.”

23 Responses to “‘Multiple support channels will ease long lines @ Immigration Dept’- Kevon S. Lettsome”

  • No (17/02/2018, 12:20) Like (28) Dislike (1) Reply

    You cant train immigration officers in a few days then send them to work. Whats needed is simple common sense. Grant extensions that make sense like 2 - 3 mths and have surveillence do their jobs. We are not making the country safer by having 100 people line up in the sun everyday to get a 2 week extension stamp because labour hasnt issued their permit. That is bullsh**! They granted 3 mths after Irma automatically, why not grant another 3 mths while they put systems in place to deal with the masses. Too much +×=%ing book sense and not a lick of common sense. More degrees than a thermometer factory but as much action as a 90yr old lady in a wheel chair! Thats the govt senior officials in a nutshell.

  • critic (17/02/2018, 12:35) Like (16) Dislike (4) Reply
    Great job mi boi Shack, brilliant idea you need not say more. All they need to do is start the implementation, this would strengthen what the Premier has in mind as well. Now that's solutions coming a brilliant young mind and a future leader in this country. Right on Shack.
  • Suggestions (17/02/2018, 12:36) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    1. Automated system design to process and grant extension - similar to the ESTA application online - this could be for visitors who are requesting to extend their time in the Territory
    2. Online appointment schedule- similar to the Passport Office in New York where persons could only be seen with a confirmation number, date and time of appointment. The appointment could be scheduled online or through an automated telephone system

    Combination of both could help the system - adding to recommendation of the article.
    • Just woke. (17/02/2018, 14:44) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      The Premier Now starting to lead. Great. I'm glad he recognized that labour and immigration are not service friendly.. He need to make personel changes, ineffective despute officers all the do is bull shit people. No desire to help..always find reasons why they cant help..or promise but never deliver..
    • crazy (17/02/2018, 20:10) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Imagine the Companies Registry was able to create a state of the art system in VIRRGIN to manage over 500,000 companies, which are in turn managed by over 100 agents conducting thousands of transactions monthly. We recently rolled out a BOSS system again, to manage a high volume of information yet we cannot develop a system to deal with a few thousand people?
  • Blessed (17/02/2018, 13:05) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    God Bless You Shak
  • island man (17/02/2018, 13:32) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    I would have also give my proposal in the light of getting the job. Good move me son! If you see a vacant spot just give a reasonable solution, get the job and do the same dawn thing as usual. (Just from university studies with no experience) Ok!!!
  • jack (17/02/2018, 13:49) Like (8) Dislike (9) Reply
    Every body wants their 2 mins on vino
    • Dueces (17/02/2018, 18:32) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply
      Who wrote this article for you? Stay up wherever you are.
      • Issue (21/02/2018, 13:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Why must he stay where he is? Is he not a BVI Lander? Does he not have a say to what happens in his own country. This young man went away to better himself to come back to serve his country. Most individuals who go away never come back. Back of the young man and give him a chance. People like you are part of the problem. Where is your solutions to help our BVI be stronger and better?
  • Street reporter (17/02/2018, 14:39) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    The young man is thinking.. Another location is badly needed. That location should be in East End from 7am to 2pm. Two days a Week..Tuesdays and Thursdays. This should be permanent. This will only servive from Brandy Wine bay and Belle Vue up to Beef Island...
  • our internet. (17/02/2018, 14:51) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Any solution as to how to make our internet better and more reliable. You on line Bam your internet gone you getting a hally hoop. Round and round and round that circle you get when internet is weak or gone.. So frustrating..
  • LABOUR (17/02/2018, 17:12) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    The problem is not mainly immigration labour is the root of the problem. Taking too long to renew or change permit causing people to go for time every minute. By the time they approve a permit you already pay immigration the permit money just to get extension. The labour commissioner needs a replacement. I bet tlhe problem will be solved if she is replaced. My renewal is in 8 months now. Fees raise and service worse. What is so hard in a renewal?
    • @Labour I agree 100% (18/02/2018, 02:22) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      The Minister responsible accepting the bull crap.. Doc Smith is the Minister for immigration and he is doing his part to make immigration more effective...
    • @LABOUR (18/02/2018, 10:52) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      I cannit agree with you more.

      Only Immigratiion you hearing about and not Labour. Despite what it seems like on the outside Immigration has been trying different things like granting people 2 and 3 months extensiion to even calling Labour and begging them to give people their permit so they don't have to get a 3rd extension.

      Seems like Labour depatrment is not trying to resolve their issues after the flood and Irma. It is business as usual. They cant find permits and they are not reissuing them. They have an appointment only sysyem for pick up that is simply not worming post Irma etc. So Immigration have to keep taking the condemnation for Labour's inefficiency. Nobody looking at Labour and their bull crap...poor leadership from the top all around, from Premier to Minister for Labour to permanent secretaries to department heads.
  • bvi (17/02/2018, 19:26) Like (2) Dislike (8) Reply
    You spoke to your mother in law before this article?
  • simple (17/02/2018, 20:07) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    The solution is to combine labour and immigration systems. Simple!!!! One set of records and streanline processing but I guess we need a committee and public meetings to make it happen.
  • @ bvi (17/02/2018, 22:54) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Well ssh thing to talk
  • Back benchers take over (18/02/2018, 02:34) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
    That's the real change we need. Get some new ministers who would address people's concerns...Agriculture, Education, Labour, Culture, Trade... Alvera Agriculture and Culture...Marlon Deputy Premier Works and finance.. Fahie Premier immigration Education and tourism... Frazer Labour Environment and communication... Mitch and Bertie Join to Run Health and social development.. Archie remain Junior Minister of Tiurusm...Delores Junior minister of Trade
  • Endangered list (18/02/2018, 17:27) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    There is an issue that I would like to see the opposition or Mr. Cline or any radio talk show host address and that is one of the endangered bvislander. It is presently easier for a non bvislander to gain employment in the BVI especially if it is a well paying job. Why you ask... it’s simple. $s & ¢s. The more money you make... the higher the fees. There is no financial benefit to the country for a local to be employed. Transversely, a non bvislander has work permit fees, immigration stamp fees, NHI, SS & income taxes AND if and when the non BVIslander goes back to his/her country their contributions remain here. The well paid non BVIslander or his/her employer will also be more likely to pay ridiculously overpriced rent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against anyone as I have lived abroad and can relate to living in someone else’s country but the moniker “BVIslanders and Belongers preferred “ is a joke!! The only time they want you is come elections
    • bullshit (18/02/2018, 18:35) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
      Why dont you start a business, try recruiting skilled employees locally and see just how wrong you are about that!
      • @BS (18/02/2018, 21:01) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        I have multiple trade licenses because I see the need to create my own destiny and not rely on anyone to do it for me. But why the hostility? Does the truth offend you?

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