When I was a child, I distinctly remember my siblings leaving home at three in the morning to go for their passport. The reason being, that if you did not go at that ungodly hour, then you would not be able to secure a place in the line.
Now I think everyone will agree that this was a very retrograde practice and as such could not have lasted very long. How surprising for me, then, when I decided to renew my passport on Friday gone, to be told that I would need to be at the (San Fernando) passport office at four in the morning, to ensure I had a place in the line. To make matters worse, I had to carry along my one year old child to get her passport as well.
Why the reason for this line? It seems that this “office” for want of a better word, can only accommodate one hundred persons at a time, so if you want to get a passport, then you better be in the first hundred.
Is this what we are moving toward? Is this Vision 20/20? After twenty plus years, could a simple situation such as this not have been rectified? How difficult would it be for there to be a standing appointment where persons called in one week before and were given an appointment for a specific day and time?
Would this simple solution not completely remove the need for persons leaving their home at ungodly hours of the morning especially in these crime infested times? Also, would this not allow for persons to arrange their day to be more productive instead of wasting it away at the office?
The US Embassy, realising this very problem came up with solutions to prevent us, the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, from facing these inconveniences. Is it that we are our own worst enemies?
Alas, who can we blame for this? A government that seems deaf to the needs of its citizenry? Or the citizens themselves who sit quietly and allow their pride and self-respect to be trampled underfoot by a public service that needs a serious attitude adjustment?
Vision 20/20 is not about the infrastructure or lifestyle of a people, it is about the way they think about themselves in relation firstly to their fellow citizens and then to the wider community. Hence, if we continue to allow ourselves to be treated as second-class citizens, then Vision 20/20 will remain nothing more than a vision.