Georgetown, Guyana- (August 06, 2015) The United States, through its Embassy in Guyana is looking to strengthen cooperation in border security under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, support possible areas of training.
These areas were discussed when Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, met with US Chargé d’ Affaires to Guyana, Bryan Hunt, recently.
The Minister also used the opportunity to discuss official document production in light of Government’s push to decentralise immigration services, making it more accessible to residents across Guyana.
Recently, an immigration centre at Springlands in Region 6 was opened, which allows residents to uplift their passports, once they have completed the application process, without returning to Georgetown. Currently, Minister Felix said, his Ministry is discussing the eventuality of the establishment of an office where passports will be distributed in Region 1. There are existing distribution centres in Regions 2, 5, 6; Springlands and New Amsterdam, 7, 8 and 10.
He noted that works are currently in progress to strengthen the Springlands office, to not only distribute passports but to also process applications. The Minister, however, explained that this is a sensitive issue which cannot be rushed.
“Our objective is just to achieve just that. We want to remove the crowds from Georgetown and issue in the other areas but of course decentralisation is a sensitive issue. It is not easy to divest from the central point. The equipment, the materials; birth certificates and especially passports are vulnerable and in demand, and all sorts of people with ill intent will want to get their hands on it. We need to have the buildings up and secured before we move into that,” Minister Felix said.
Minister Winston Felix said that as it relates to the discussion on secure document production; the issue of guarding against falsification of birth certificates is on the front burner.
He noted that it is a well- known fact that there are weaknesses in the system and as such, these must be strengthened.
“We need to have a system which ensures that passports and birth certificates are secure and are acceptable. However, birth certificates are most vulnerable to falsification and that is what we want to strengthen so that it is easy to detect,” Minister Felix said.
The Minister said that the US Chargé d’ Affaires has assured that the Embassy will be providing some guidelines for sources, from which the requisite paper and ink to strengthen the integrity of the birth certificates can be acquired.