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Schoolgirl misses grandfather's funeral over passport delay

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

A FAMILY who are pillars of the community in Walsall want to know why there has been an unexplained delay in the renewal of their 15-year-old daughter’s passport.

Rev Moses Whyte and his wife Victoria, who is a Walsall Labour councillor, have drawn a blank with the Passport Agency since they applied to renew their daughter Amina Musa-Whyte’s passport last July.

In January of this year they wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May and have also logged a complaint with the Passport Agency, but to date, there has been no response.

When the Passport Office requested further information in August 2014 they supplied it and then chased the application again in October without success.

While their demands for answers remain ignored, Amina has been forced to miss out on two educational school trips and is about to miss a third this year if her passport is not renewed in time. She has also been unable to attend the funerals of her grandfather and aunt in Jamaica.

The situation is distressing both Amina, who is a pupil at Aldridge School Science College, and her parents, who supplied all the information requested by the Passport Agency in Durham.

Her father Rev Whyte, a well known community advisor, who used to serve on Walsall’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and is a West Midlands co-ordinator for the Jamaican Diaspora Group, told The Voice: “This is now beginning to affect my health as my blood pressure is now very high and Amina is becoming more and more upset.

“Our lives have been put on hold and for what reason? My daughter is simply a schoolgirl and what should have been a straightforward transaction has turned into a major incident for us with no reason given.

“I know it is against protocol, but I am tempted to chain myself to railings outside the Passport Office until I get some proper answers. The irony is I spend a lot of my time advising others on passport problems and here am in a similar mess through no fault of our own.”

Rev Whyte a lay minister, also served as a Walsall councillor between 1996 and 2000, becoming the first African Caribbean in the town to hold such a position. He left the parish of Trelawny in Jamaica in 1961 as a teenager to start a new life in the UK, along with his wife who hails from St Ann. Amina was born at Walsall’s Manor Hospital.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Her Majesty’s Passport Office will not issue a passport until all checks have been satisfactorily completed.”

Community activist Desmond Jaddoo, who is assisting the family, said: “This is a sorry state of affairs when a child’s education is being affected by this total breakdown in communication with the Passport Agency.

“I am unable to understand why a simple passport renewal has taken so long without any answers; shame on Theresa May and the Home Office for not responding to the Whyte’s letter.

“I have written to the Home Secretary demanding an immediate resolution to this unacceptable situation.”

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