Government Awaits Architectural Designs for New PICA Head Office

Photo: Dave Reid National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague (right), is briefed on operations by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), by Director of Immigration, Orlando Williams (left), during a tour of the agency’s head office on Constant Spring Road in St, Andrew on January 19. Listening is Immigration Officer, Kamala Morris-Anderson.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is awaiting completion of the architectural designs to commence construction of the new Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) head office in Kingston.
  • National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, made the disclosure to JIS News following a tour of PICA’s offices on January 19.
  • “We have instructed that the architects move a little faster to complete the designs... as we just need these and the approval of the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation to construct the facility and get the staff into more comfortable surroundings,” he said.

The Government is awaiting completion of the architectural designs to commence construction of the new Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) head office in Kingston.

The facility is being built to provide more space for staff located at PICA’s current headquarters on Constant Spring Road in St. Andrew.

National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, made the disclosure to JIS News following a tour of PICA’s offices on January 19.

Mr. Montague, who has portfolio responsibility for PICA, said land located at nearby North Avenue has been acquired, and funding identified to undertake the project.

“We have instructed that the architects move a little faster to complete the designs… as we just need these and the approval of the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation to construct the facility and get the staff into more comfortable surroundings,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Montague said the Ministry will be looking into several concerns raised and submissions made by the staff concerning PICA’s operations.

Among these, he indicated, were amendments to the law regarding “things that would make the service to the ordinary Jamaican citizen better”.

“The members of staff were engaged and they came up with a lot of good ideas,” the Minister noted.

Mr. Montague told JIS News that he is keen on introducing online passport applications and renewals, as well as the biometric or e-passport, and said the Ministry will be pursuing these.

The e-passport or digital passport is a combined paper and electronic passport that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the traveller’s identity.

 

Mr. Montague also highlighted concerns with challenges relating to airlines’ compliance with the submission of Advanced Passenger Information (API) for travellers to Jamaica.

“If they (airlines) don’t send this manifest to us, people can’t use the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) machines at the airports, and this compromises our security because we don’t know who is coming on that flight until that flight is here and they are processed… and it might be too late (to take preventative action, if necessary),” he said.

The APIS is a means by which a passenger’s personal data, as provided electronically to a transportation company or an airline, can be vetted for security clearance prior to the passenger boarding the vessel.

Mr. Montague praised PICA’s staff for the high standard and quality of their operations and services delivered to clients.

The Minister’s tour, which was led by PICA’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Wynter, formed part of his visit to the Ministry’s departments and agencies to interact with the staff and get a better understanding of their operations and how best service delivery to the public can be further improved.

He was accompanied by State Minister, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., and other Ministry officials.

JIS Social