The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) is reporting that it has uncovered more than 700 cases of forgery and fraud over the past five years.
The disclosure was made on Thursday by PICA’s chief executive officer (CEO) Andrew Wynter. He was speaking at the official opening of the passport agency’s Document Forensic Laboratory at its offices on West Kings House Road in St. Andrew.
The recently installed forgery detection suite is valued at approximately $22 million and is a donation to the Ministry of National Security from the Government of the United Kingdom (UK).
“This new lab will greatly help the agency in its fight against criminal elements by improving PICA’s decision-making process and the agency’s overall efficiency and our intelligence-gathering capabilities,” said a statement from the security ministry which has oversight responsibility for PICA..
“It will also help us in determining the eligibility of passengers for entry and will allow for information sharing on new and emerging trends in fraudulent travel documents that are a threat to national security,” Wynter explained.
According to the CEO, there is growing incidence of identity fraud at the international level. He noted that PICA will improve its efficiency through the establishment of a central document forensic laboratory and mini laboratories at Jamaica’s two main ports of entry.