Chief Executive Officer of the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Jennifer McDonald, said that the agency is fully committed to its mandate of protecting national security, through the provision ofits various services.
She was speaking at a church service held yesterday (June 10) at the St. James Parish Church in Montego Bay, to mark the five- year anniversary since the agency gained executive agency status.
Miss McDonald stated that PICA’s newly created tagline: ‘Securing our borders, safeguarding our sovereignty’, is a constant reminder to the staff of their awesome responsibility.
“We protect and safeguard our nation’s ports of entry, we safeguard our sovereignty and national identity by issuing passports to Jamaicans only, and we issue certificates of citizenship for those persons, who wish to become Jamaicans, and believe you me, there are a number of persons, who wish to claim Jamaican nationality,” she stated, noting that the agency processes more than four million customers annually.
Miss McDonald noted that values and ethics such as honesty, hard work, integrity and discipline are critical for PICA to successfully carry out its mandate as a security agency.
She said that although there have been numerous challenges over the years, there is a lot for which the agency can be thankful.
Meanwhile, in delivering the sermon, The Very Rev. Canon Justin Nembhard lauded PICA on its achievements and also for its “growing maturity in the work done on the nation’s behalf”. He added that PICA is a young but important agency in national life.
PICA is an agency of the Ministry of National Security. It was established in its present form in 2001 through the merger of the Passport Office and the Immigration Service, which were part of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); and the Citizenship Section, and the Immigration and Passport Policy Unit in the Ministry.
The agencygained executive agency status on June 1, 2007, as part of a modernisation programme aimed at improving service delivery to the public, and to reflect the heightened focus on international security.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter