Government House On BOTC Passport Printing

September 26, 2013

Following talk in the media and Parliament, Government House said they wish to clarify the passport situation, saying there “are no plans to abolish” British Overseas Territory Citizen [BOTC] passports.

Government House said the British Government is planning to print BOTC passports in the UK in to “produce them to new and higher security standards at reasonable cost.”

“We know the concerns this planned change raises in connection with the issuing of emergency travel documents and are currently in discussion with HM Passport Office in the UK to try to identify a practical solution,” Government House said.

The statement continued on to say that the Governor “very much hopes that an arrangement will be in place by then which enables Bermudians to get travel documents quickly if they need them for emergency travel. But it is always a good idea to make sure that your passport – UK and/or Bermudian – is up to date.”

Citing a new passport design with improved security measures, the UK Government plans to transfer the printing of BOTC passports away from a dozen British Overseas Territories — including Bermuda — in December 2014.

The situation resulted in both political parties taking a similar standpoint. Both Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy and Shadow Home Affairs Minister Walter Roban referenced the fact that Bermudians sometimes travel abroad for emergency medical care, which can happen at short notice.

Minister Fahy said the Government plans to “assume a leadership role” to find a solution for Bermuda and the other Territories, which ideally means retaining the ability to print Bermuda passports on island, while Mr Roban said the PLP ”supports Minister Fahy and the OBA in finding a way to halt or delay the removal of Bermuda Passport printing from on island.”

The full statement from Government House is below:

There has been a discussion in the House of Assembly, the Senate and in the media on the changes to the process relating to the issuing of passports. Government House wishes to clarify the situation on this matter.

There are no plans to abolish British Overseas Territory passports. The British Government is planning to print British Citizen passports and British Overseas Territory Citizen passports centrally in the UK instead of in British Embassies, High Commissions and Overseas Territories around the world.

This is mainly in order to produce them to new and higher security standards at reasonable cost. There is no reason to believe that the United States or any other country will be concerned about whether an Overseas Territory passport is printed in Durham, England or Hamilton, Bermuda. They are more likely to welcome the fact that it is being printed to the highest possible security specifications. These specifications are constantly being revised upwards.

We know the concerns this planned change raises in connection with the issuing of emergency travel documents and are currently in discussion with HM Passport Office in the UK to try to identify a practical solution. There are various options under discussion. The situation should not change for a year or two in any case. The Governor very much hopes that an arrangement will be in place by then which enables Bermudians to get travel documents quickly if they need them for emergency travel. But it is always a good idea to make sure that your passport – UK and/or Bermudian – is up to date.

Information on applying for BOTC passports can be obtained from the Department of Immigration, who will continue to be responsible for the application process when the changes are implemented.

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Comments (8)

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  1. I do hope this statement presented by our Governor is conclusive and also satisfying to them finding it hard to deal with the fact that our Bermuda Passports will be printed in the U.K. and not here on Island.
    It is quite clear that is the only change that will be made and as we now are recognized to U.S.A. we will remain. Minister Walton Brown and others in the Progressive Labour Party knew what the truth was in advance of the Governor explaining to the general public the pros. and cons. surrounding the printing of our Bermuda Passports. “Have of the harm done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to harm but the harm does not interest them.”-(T.S. Eliot poet 1888-1965)

  2. Typo: “Half of the harm done in this world etc.

  3. Dwayne D. Talbot says:

    Mr. Ray,

    From following the news story it states that Shadow Minister Roban said that the PLP “supports Minister Fahy and the OBA in finding a way to halt or delay the removal of Bermuda Passport printing on island.”
    If the Governor’s statement was so clear why is it that Minister Fahy suggesting that government would assume a leading for Bermuda and the other Territories to retain the ability to print the passport on island.
    Her Majesty’s Representative seems to stating what is going to occur, which is something that both the Government and the Opposition do not want.

    Dwayne D. Talboot

    • Mr. Dwayne Talboot; I suggest you re-read that statement made by the Governor,(the whole statement) and you’ll see it answers all questions.

  4. lay down! says:

    @ Raymond Ray thank you very much! No more has 2 be said! Plp ministers have a habit of twisting things up, i guess they have been listening to the spin Dr a little to much!

    • Serious Though says:

      nothing to spin, OBA govt communication on this issue did not answer most of the public questions.

  5. Serious Though says:

    OBA should have consulted with the Parliament on this national interest issue, it affects everybody.
    I am a supporter of OBA, BUT this may lead to further decisions made out of the normal parliamentary procedures in future by OBA. There are more questions than answers and the less information that OBA is giving Bermudians is alarming. seriously, if it looks like a duck quack like a duck…

  6. media says:

    This press release seems to have been issued as a result of Walton Brown’s appearance on Everest De Costa’s show on Wednesday. He was the one suggesting that this move was to get all BODT citizens onto UK passports and do away with the BODT or Bermudian passports. The Governor clearly says otherwise. Walton has no trust in the Empire anyway and this probably won’t give comfort to him either, with his repeating of the remarks made in the House on Friday, by a PLP Member about the sun never setting on the Empire, suggesting that you could not trust the British in the dark…