News

New PICA HQ in another two years

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 08, 2018

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PLANS are being firmed up for the long-anticipated relocation of the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) from its Constant Spring Road headquarters, to a more suitable site that will provide ample parking convenience for customers.

The parking arrangement, especially, has been a sore point for clients over the years, as outside of the few parking spaces for customers on the small compound, attempting to secure parking at nearby plazas has increasingly been met with resistance from security personnel.

Last January, National Security Minister Robert Montague, during a tour of the current head office, said the Government had “instructed that the architects move a little faster to complete the designs”.

Speaking at the Jamaica Observer's Monday Exchange forum this week, Chief Executive Officer of PICA Andrew Wynter said that if all goes according to plan, the agency should be settled at its new location at West Kings House Road and North Avenue in St Andrew, within another two years. The property, which was procured in 2016, should comfortably accommodate a proposed six-storey structure, he explained.

“We have recognised the limitation of the issue of parking and the plan is, hopefully by 2020, we will have the new facility and certainly with all the modern amenities and some of the new technology improvements to be implemented as well,” he stated.

Wynter further informed that PICA has, in the interim, rented a new facility on Waterloo Road where some of its services which are now housed at Constant Spring Road, will be transferred, in order to ease the pressure at the current location and free up some of the parking spaces for customers.

He said the 50,000 square feet of space at West Kings House Road “will give us enough working space to consolidate all our operations into one facility”, and that PICA is working with the National Works Agency on the specifications for the facility, and the preparation of a budget.

PICA currently rents the space which it occupies at 25 Constant Spring Road.

Plans to relocate the PICA head office have been long in the making, with announcements by Government as far back as 2008 that the agency was to be relocated to downtown Kingston. The proposed site at the time was the Urban Development Corporation building.

In addition to its Kingston and Montego Bay offices, individuals can apply for passports in Mandeville, May Pen and Portmore as well as through PICA's Portmore mobile service, which gives customers the convenience of applying for their passports in their offices and communities.

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