Almost one year after…online processing to commence in 2018After almost one year since the passage of the 2017 Budget, the Citizenship Ministry is now making efforts to commence construction of a building to house a Passport and Immigration Office in Berbice.Citizenship Minister Winston Felix on Saturday turned the sod for commencement of the $57.5 million project at Fort Ordnance, East Canje. Felix said the initiativeSod turning – Citizenship Minister Winston Felix, along with Ministry of the Presidency’s Permanent Secretary Abena Moore and Mayor of New Amsterdam Winifred Heywood, turning the sod at the proposed sitewas birthed from a desire to reduce the lengthy lines at the Georgetown Passport Office. He assured that with construction of the building, quality services will be delivered to persons in the Berbice region.“It is with your comfort in mind that the improvement of the efficiency within the Immigration Department, as well as the decentralisation of services, is being undertaken at this time,” Felix said.He also noted improvements made within the immigration sector over the past two years, and added that Government is in the process of digitising all of its services, including those of the Immigration Department.The contract for construction of the building has been awarded to M&P Investment Company, and the contractor, Pierre Walcott, said that the project has already started and has provided jobs for 25 persons within the Berbice area. The building is expected to be completed in April 2018.During his Budget 2018 presentation last Wednesday, Felix said that the decision to decentralise the services is in keeping with the President’s intention to take immigration services to the towns.He noted that Linden has also been identified to have its services decentralized, and construction is expected to commence there soon as well. He added that, in addition to online processing, this Ministry would also be seeking to upgrade the passports to 64 pages, and insert a chip in an effort to make travelling less tedious.