"Increases in Passport Fees Exorbitant and Unconscionable" - Smith

Release Date: 
Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 15:30

Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Mr. Derrick Smith, says the announced increases in fees for processing passport applications are exorbitant and unconscionable, given the economic hardships Jamaicans are having to endure at this time.

Mr. Smith said: “It cannot be that people are getting modest increases in their income, if any at all, but at the same time, are being called upon to pay considerably more for basic services. While the Passport Immigration & Citizenship Agency (PICA) may well have to increase its fees from time to time, right now, it is unconscionable to saddle the already over-burdened population with increases that go up to a high of 44%. Most Jamaicans are struggling just to get by. We are at our taxable limit and have virtually no capacity to absorb any increase in fees and taxes, let alone this massive 44% increase.

The Opposition Spokesman continued: “The Government needs to wheel and come again. It has to explain to the nation, the basis on which fees for processing passport applications are being increased by such exorbitant rates, while inflation is in low single digits and workers, particularly those in the public sector, are having to endure the strictures of wage restraint. The average Jamaican worker has had no meaningful or substantial increase in their income due to the economic hardships confronting the country. And in the case of public sector workers, the mere 5% increase being offered by the Government, illustrates just how unconscionable this proposed 44% increased is.”

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