Brown presses London on passport problems
Britain will be pressured to sort out problems with passport codes on Bermudian passports printed in the UK, the Cabinet Office minister said on Monday.
Walton Brown earlier said he hoped there would be progress on the passport problem, which has caused difficulty for some Bermudians entering the United States from outside the island.
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the shadow health minister, asked for an update on passports during a debate on the immigration budget in the House of Assembly.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, explained that Mr Brown was dealing with the problem.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin said that difficulties arose after Britain took over responsibility for the printing of Bermudian passports and coding used on the travel documents was changed.
This caused problems for some Bermudians with UK-printed passports who wanted to enter the United States from jurisdictions outside the island.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “The reason that this difference is important is because there are special arrangements between Bermuda and the United States that the UK does not have, so while it may not be a problem to them to say that ‘we’re issuing this in Great Britain, therefore that’s the code that you get’, it causes inconvenience for Bermuda travellers when we don’t have every customs and border control system in the United States recognising this preferential treatment.”
She added: “I believe it’s vital to us as a country, it’s vital that we get something done.”
Mr Caines replied later: “This is being handled at the Cabinet Office by Walton Brown.
“He’s working closely with HMPO; the minister will be travelling to the UK in the not-too-distant future to have discussions with the relevant people on the passport codes.”
David Burt, the Premier, and Mr Brown addressed Joint Ministerial Council meetings in London about the need to resolve the problem last December.
Mr Burt said then: “We met with officials from HM Passport Office and left with assurances that this important matter will be addressed. Minister Brown and I will continue to push until an acceptable solution is in place.”
Mr Brown added later: “They seemed to have a more sympathetic ear to our position, and I am hopeful there will be progress made.”