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Schoolgirl gets passport after 7-month delay

RELIEVED: Amina Musa-Whyte'S father Rev Whyte, a well known community advisor, says the situation is affecting his health

A FAMILY who waited almost eight months for their teenage daughter’s passport to be renewed had a new one delivered less than 48 hours after telling the media about their plight.

The long wait for 15-year-old Amina Musa-Whyte was finally over after her parents, the Rev Moses Whyte and her mum Victoria, a Walsall Labour councillor in the West Midlands, went public about their frustrating lack of response from Durham Passport Office.

They had sent the passport last July, expecting the renewal to take no longer than the normal two weeks. Since then Amina has been unable to attend the funerals of her grandfather and aunt in Jamaica, and she’s also missed out on two educational school trips.

Her mother Victoria said: “We were contacted by the Passport Agency the same day that we had spoken about this to The Voice and New Style Radio in Birmingham. The Passport Agency rang us about 5.30pm to say Amina’s new passport would be hand delivered the following day – and it was.

“But there was no letter with the passport explaining the delay and I feel we are owed an explanation. Why did we have to go to the media to get this situation resolved? It doesn’t make sense and we are entitled to be given a valid reason.

“We are just so relieved that our lives are no longer on hold. It’s upset Amina terribly as she has missed important family funerals in Jamaica and also missed out on school trips abroad. She is now looking forward to being able to travel with us to see family in America.”

Mrs Whyte said her husband, a respected lay minister and community advisor in Walsall, was taking up the case with the Passport Office.

“What should have been a routine procedure turned into a major incident for no good reason,” said Rev Whyte, a former Walsall Labour councillor and a West Midlands co-ordinator for the Jamaican Diaspora group.

“What made it even more insulting is the agency held on to other documents such as our marriage certificate and our daughter’s birth certificate for all this time.”

When contacted by The Voice, a Home Office spokesperson said: “Her Majesty’s Passport Office will not issue a passport until all checks have been satisfactorily completed.”

However, a day after the story appeared online, the Passport Agency contacted The Voice and said: “The passport has been issued following the satisfactory completion of checks.”

Community activist Desmond Jaddoo, who has been supporting the family, said: “It’s amazing that after a seven-month delay following media pressure this issue was resolved within 48 hours with no letter of explanation.”

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