A RAT infestation is being blamed for the early closing of the registrar's office in San Fernando today, leaving scores of people angry and calling for better customer service.
Some people said they arrived as early as 4 am at the Leotaud Street office. By 10 am, staff had shut the doors.
Pensioner Euklin Augustine, 75, who lives at Salazar Trace in Point Fortin, said she arrived at about 6 am and was given a form to fill out. She is trying to get a birth certificate for her 79-year-old brother Herbert, who died on Sunday.
Augustine said: "I have to get it for the funeral agency and for the NIS office so I can organise the funeral.
"I did not sleep well last night, and I woke up at 3.30 am to get ready to come here. When I reached, a woman gave me a paper to fill out and I am sitting here studying what to do next."
At 6 am, the street was filled with people waiting for the office to open at about 8 am.
Augustine said: "I did not get a seat and I had to stand up on that corner. I went back to the car to rest. I have no transport, and someone is assisting me. Lady, what do you think I should do?"
By midmorning, many of those waiting left, saying they were heading to the office at Arima, "which is more efficient."
Sylvan Robinson, 65, who lives at Couva, said he visited simply to collect his new birth certificate, having applied for it online in March.
"I am here since 7 am and they told us they are going into a meeting. About ten to ten, they came out and told us the building unsafe and there are rats inside. By 10 am they closed the door and we don’t know what is going on. So, they (staff) are inside and we are outside," Robinson said.
Many people knocked on the doors, but no one answered. Apart from the word-of-mouth information, there was nothing saying the office was closed or why.
This reporter also knocked on the doors, but no one opened them.