Come Monday, March 25, the Mandeville outpost of the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), will begin to operate from more spacious and comfortable offices.
The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) and PICA, on Thursday, March 21, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will see the RGD facilitating some of PICA’s services at its regional office in Mandeville.
Chief Executive Officer of PICA, Jennifer McDonald and Chief Executive Officer of the RGD, Deirdre English-Gosse, affixed their signatures to the document at a ceremony held at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) headquarters on Half-Way-Tree Road.
The new office, which will observe the RGD’s opening and closing hours, will offer full passport service, including the submission of applications and collection of completed passports. It will also provide minimal immigration service, namely the registration of aliens.
“We intend to start on Monday as a soft start and to offer fulsome service on April 2,” Mrs. McDonald said.
She told JIS News that PICA saw it necessary to expand its service in Manchester as 40 per cent of the applications received were from that parish.
“Outside of our Montego Bay office and outside of the other areas that we collaborate with, such as the tax authorities, Mandeville is our largest serving community, and so we thought that we would step up on the services that are offered there,” she stated.
According to the CEO, the Mandeville office will help to reduce the crowd at the office in Kingston.
Currently, PICA provides passport services at the Portmore and May Pen tax offices under similar agreements. Prior to these arrangements, applications for passports were only accepted at PICA’s head office in Kingston and at the agency’s branch office in Montego Bay.
“We want to explore other areas….any parish that is not served by us as yet,” Miss McDonald stated.
She used the opportunity to thank the personnel at the Mandeville Police Station from which PICA had been operating, noting that “they have provided valuable support to us over the years.”
In her remarks, Mrs. English-Gosse said that when the idea was put forward by PICA to offer passport and immigration services from the RDG’s Mandeville location, she thought it was a good opportunity, not only for cost savings, but also for the provision of join-up service.
She noted that the agreement with PICA will provide a “one-stop shop” experience for customers.
“You apply for the birth certificates and once you get it, you just go over and apply for the Jamaican passport. So I think it is quite an opportunity that we are collaborating this way to provide this join-up service,” she said.
Persons wishing to contact the PICA Mandeville office can call 625-1719-21, or fax 625-1722.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS Reporter