Home Affairs Minister Virginia Albert-Poyotte welcomed the launch of Saint Lucia’s new e-passport at a ceremony on Monday, acknowledging that there would be resistance to change.
“We advocate for change, but when change comes there is a lot of resistance,” the Minister asserted.
“And this is what we have to address at this time in terms of how our Saint Lucian public – the people of Saint Lucia will receive the presence and use of an electronic passport,” the Babonneau MP explained.
Albert-Poyotte disclosed that one of the challenges the authorities had to address was the document’s cost.
The Government of Saint Lucia has confirmed that the cost of the new e-passports is XCD 250.00 per document for five years.
In this regard, the Minister recalled visiting many talk shows and media houses to defend the price.
“It’s not the persons who administer the use of the passport who have to face the challenge- it’s the government of Saint Lucia who has to find the money to foot that bill and I want to tell you, it’s not a cheap exercise,” Albert-Poyotte asserted.
She said she understood why it was not a cheap exercise since this country’s security is of critical importance.
According to the Minister, many people see security, crime, and safety in terms of guns.
However, she pointed out that sophisticated crimes exist that have nothing to do with firearms and physical abuse.
“If we do not control our borders, we are not safe and we have to control our borders in terms of who comes in and who goes out,” Albert-Poyotte told her audience.
And she described the new e-passport as one means of assisting the government and people of Saint Lucia to be in a safer environment.
Police Commissioner Milton Desir earlier described the e-passport launch as a momentous occasion.
He described the occasion as thrusting Saint Lucia into what could only be a very promising future since e-passports have been billed as the new generation of travel documents, providing several advantages to their owners.
Desir pointed to increased security features, including protection against identity fraud through improved biometric features.
“The transition to this system will undoubtedly allow Saint Lucia to enhance its border management effort in keeping with recommendations by the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” he stated.