Heavy Fines Proposed in New Passport Law

These options are contained in the draft legislation to deal with persons breaching the provisions of the Passport and Travel Documents Act.

The fine is to be increased from four hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars and imprisonment from one, to three years, for a person found guilty of altering, or tampering with a passport, is found in unlawful possession of a passport, or who finds a passport, neglects or fails, within seven days of the finding, to send or give it to a passport officer or to the officer in charge at the nearest police station.

Anyone found guilty could be imprisoned for a period not exceeding three years and in default of payment of the fine, imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.

The legislation, which is in the name of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Homeland Security, Sam Condor, also imposes similar prison terms and fines for other offences, including impersonation, or false representation, as being the holder or the rightful possessor of a passport, when he or she is not;  impersonates or makes false representation to procure, or attempts to procure the issue of a passport to himself, or herself, or to any other person; parts with the possession of a passport to another person without lawful authority, or for an unlawful purpose; destroys or makes away with a passport or by willful neglect allows any person to obtain possession of a passport; without having actual personal knowledge of the applicant for a passport, makes a declaration verifying the declaration of the applicant or vouching for the fitness of the applicant to receive a passport, or makes such a declaration merely on information obtained.

The e-passport should contain biometric information stored on a micro chip that can be used to authenticate the identity of the holder and should contain additional safety features that are not present in the machine readable passports. These additional safety features should increase security against fraud, alteration or counterfeit.

The Bill also removes all references to endorsement of travel documents as this practice would be discontinued.



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