PARAMARIBO, Suriname (CMC) – The National Assembly has approved legislation allowing Suriname to issue new biometric passports.
Suriname joins at least two other Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries to issue biometric passports following St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica.
But the passage of the Travel Documents Act was not supported by several opposition members who refused to participate in the debate claiming that they were not in agreement with how President Chandrikapersad Santokhi's government had been handling the flooding crisis in the southern part of the country.
The authorities said that at least 222 homes and 318 agricultural plots were flooded after the Staatsolie Power Company Suriname opened a valve from the overfilled reservoir to reduce pressure on the Afobaka dam.
During the parliamentary session, Staatsolie chief executive officer, Annand Jagesar, answered questions from legislators, saying also that there is sufficient capacity in house to solve the flooding problem and Staatsolie has promised it would support all those affected.
The government said that existing biometric data by the Central Bureau for Civil Affairs will be used in preparing the new passports for distribution.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Albert Ramdin, and Home Affairs Minister, Bronto Somohardjo, told Parliament that the new passports will have a more secure and fraud-resistant travel document.
Chairman of the Committee of Rapporteurs, Kishan Ramsukul, said as a result of the new travel document, travellers will be processed at a faster rate.
He also called on the government to examine whether the travel document could be produced here, after legislators noted that Suriname is dependent on the Serbian company, Vlatacom, for producing identification cards.