Stuck in Miami - Elderly woman grounded for more than a year because of stolen identity
An elderly Jamaican woman who resides in Florida, and for more than a year has been unable to travel, is irate after efforts to renew her expired passport have been stalled allegedly because someone acquired a travel document in her name.
Velma Cameron, 61, said she has been given unsatisfactory explanation seemingly from officials, while making her case that she is the person she declares to be.
"Last year, on March 24, I went to an agent. They would send on the application to the Jamaican Consulate in Miami. It so happens that I had a death in Jamaica and I got an emergency passport and went to Jamaica and came back up."
She told The STAR that upon her return to the USA, she made enquires about the status of the passport, and was told her application would take eight weeks to be processed.
"I waited and I did not hear anything so I kept calling. I was informed later that there was a red flag on the passport. I got a number for Jamaica and called, and they put me on to the investigative department."
Cameron told The STAR that she was later informed by the handlers in Miami that her passport was duplicated.
"They said somebody applied for a passport in my name. They can't tell me when or nothing like that. My passport expired last year April. They said they are investigating."
"I gave them the name of three family members. When my sister tried to call, they said they couldn't speak to her because of confidentiality."
To make matters worse, Cameron told our news team that she was informed that her original application was lost.
"November, the man in Miami called me and said they lost my application in Jamaica. He told me that I need to come to Miami, he is not going to charge me. He said he was going to fill out another application and send it back to Jamaica. I went there on December 3."
"I had two expired Jamaican passports and you know passports are 10 year and 10 year, plus this last one, so that's 30 years, and I gave it to them to photocopy and send with the application."
Cameron told our news team that since then she has not received a passport or much information about the investigation.
"I called Jamaica and they asked for the name of three siblings with birth certificates and I said I am going to call them (siblings) and ask them to come in. The guy told me that's not how it goes and that I am 'in line'. He said there are thousands of these things being investigated and people are waiting 10 years and they can't get their passport," Cameron said.
"I can't wait 10 years. I need my passport to travel. Is not like one time when you could travel on your green card. My sister is in Canada sick at death's door and I can't go. I am at my wits end. I am like a sitting duck can't move. They telling me that I have to wait my turn and that's unfair to me, it's like I am being punished."
"I can't come down there and stay for them to investigate because the first thing they will have to do is find this other person, and that person would have given them wrong address, wrong everything. The first thing they should do is find out if that person left Jamaica with that passport because they must have records to show when that passport was applied for, and if that person left Jamaica. I don't know what they are investigating, that should be easy," Cameron said.
Efforts by The STAR to get some clarity from Passport Immigration and Citizen Agency (PICA) on the matter proved futile at press time.