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Mar 21, 2017

Immigration Tells Why Lines are Long at P.G.I.A.

In a classic case of “progress brings problems,” the Department of Immigration and Nationality has responded to concerns that its nineteen-member staff at the Philip Goldson International Airport in Ladyville has been overwhelmed with the higher proportion of tourist arrivals in the ongoing high season. Despite the boasts of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation of ever-increasing tourist arrivals by land or sea, those coming in via the P.G.I.A. have had to face very long lines for processing upon arrival, particular on the peak travel days of Saturday and Sunday when more than twenty flights land.  Director of Immigration and Nationality, Diana Locke, told News Five via email this afternoon that, “We have made arrangements to ensure we have all booths filled at the airport on the weekend that is ten booths on the arrival side and four booths on the departure side.”  According to Locke, the issue is one of space, as she explained that “as soon as the airport departure area expansion is complete we will be adding more terminals and more officers.  There is no more room in the arrival hall for the expansion of Immigration services.”  Arriving passengers are only processed through the immigration arrival hall while departing passengers are cleared through the two current terminals.  Director Locke confirmed that officers from P.G.I.A. missed out on overtime in February because their submission was not made in time. With the financial year to end ten days from today, the Department is aiming to get it in before that time.  Otherwise all Immigration officers were paid on schedule. There was no comment on a reported go-slow done by some officers in response.  The Director told us that the Department has undertaken to ensure that booths remain staffed during this high season when the number of flights have and will continue to increase.  In the meantime, passengers must exercise some patience and follow the dictates of their respective airline, but a good rule of thumb is to arrive at least two hours prior to departure for standard international flights and allow for up to three hours on Saturdays, when there are approximately twenty-two flights coming and going.

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