The Ministry of National Security yesterday shut down the rotation of Immigration officers after 11 tested positive for COVID-19.
Guardian Media was told that a further 50 officers have been quarantined leaving the division severely understaffed.
There are approximately 105 Immigration officers at Grade I level which means that more than 50 per cent of the frontline division is shut down.
Guardian Media also learned that Immigration officers are lacking personal protective equipment (PPE) gear and officers describe the delivery as “sporadic”.
The officers are not properly socially distanced. They also share booths that are often unsanitised between shifts.
Sources inside the division told Guardian Media that the “rotation system” which is used to place officers at different locations was frozen for the next month.
Every three months the rotation committee gives a letter that assigns an officer to a station. Most of the existing staff at the airport were scheduled to leave the airport and go out to passport offices.
The new rotation was scheduled to start next week but with this COVID outbreak everything is now in suspension.
Immigration officers not only work at the Piarco International Airport but those same officers are rotated to passport offices both in Trinidad and Tobago.
Last week Guardian Media reported that three officers tested positive and 20 were quarantined.
At that time, Chief Immigration Officer Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews did not respond to calls or texts.
National Security Minister Stuart Young said then he knew about one officer and said that there “may” be additional positive tests.
He said then that quarantining the 20 officers was the normal course of action and commended the division.
Young did not respond to questions about this current outbreak.