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Airport passengers left frustrated as system failure affects PICA's online C5 form

By Nakinskie Robinson    
 
Several passengers were left frustrated at both major international airports this afternoon after a system failure affected the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship agency's online portal which hosts the C5 declaration form.
 
The C5 form is the Official Electronic Immigration and Customs Declaration Card which all passengers are required to complete in advance of air travel.
 
The form went digital on September 1 last year.
 
Kauna McKenzie, Director of Business Development and Communication at PICA, said the online system was promptly restored after being down for six minutes at Sangster International Airport in St. James and about 20 minutes at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.
 
During the period of disruption, she said paper declaration forms were issued to passengers. 
 
The system failure, she said, was caused by a disruption in power supply. 
 
Radio Jamaica News was informed that five flights at Norman Manley International Airport and several at Sangster International Airport were impacted by the glitch.
 
Desk staff had to revert to manual processing of the form and immigration officers were asked to vet travellers after the system began to malfunction.
 
Prior to restoration, passengers were also unable to use the newly installed kiosk systems which are used to process the C5 form. 
 
Meanwhile, Granville Valentine, General Secretary of the National Workers Union, which represents immigration officers, said the glitch highlights the importance of manual labour. 
 
Because of the risk of technology failing at any point, Mr. Valentine suggested that "humans ought to be the priority" and technology be a backup.
 
Late last year, former head of Customs Danville Walker sparked controversy after questioning the role of immigration officers while calling for increased use of technology.
 
Mr. Walker said the move would increase efficiency with the processing of "thousands" of passengers while significantly reducing the need for immigration officers.
 


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