Latest update March 24th, 2023 12:59 AM
Jun 28, 2016 Letters
I have applied several times on behalf of poor residents in my community and also for members of my church for birth, death and marriage certificates, but the wait is very long. I haven’t seen any changes in this area of frustration and incompetence from the previous administration to this current administration. Several visits to the General Registrar Office tells me of this long frustrating procedure; our citizens waiting months for birth, marriage and death certificates in the mail but never get it. Their visits to GRO is a next long tedious experience. In this day and age of modern technology a birth certificate should not take more than three days to process. From my observation, I don’t think the GRO has a current register general that makes it more difficult to administrate this office.
As a result of the slow processing of birth certificates, perhaps thousands of our Guyanese citizens have been unable to register for their new identification cards and were unable to vote at last year’s elections.I observe a new updated birth certificate that has a silver Guyana Coat of Arms also the same logo stamped all over the back of the certificate in a light pink colour. It’s unfortunate I haven’t seen this same design for the marriage and death certificates. If they were updating these certificates and specimens then all three birth, marriage and death certificate should bear the same Logo of the Coat of Arms to avoid frauds.These updated templates should be sent to immigration and embassies in Guyana. By just updating the birth certificate creates more suspicion of frauds. Some institutions rejected these new birth certificates. Also these specimens should be published in the press and posted to all government institutions. The certificate size should be bigger because people with 4 or 5 names cannot fit these into the small lines.
Why is it that birth, death and marriage certificates are taking months and even years to be processed at the GRO? It seems as if there is a lot of incompetence at that institution. In addition to the people who have been waiting for their birth certificates for over a year, I know of many who had old birth certificates and who are now told that they were never registered. A late birth registration now takes 6 months and tons of paper work and documentation that costs a lot. The cost for one birth certificate just over a year ago was just $30 and now it’s $300, an increase of 1000%, yet the process takes longer. I am of the opinion that this Coalition Government would speed up things in this area but it now takes-much longer into many more departments for example a transport and land title takes years to process. I read about all these changes and modern technology in the press but nothing changes. Our Ministers seem to be travelling on tours rather than getting jobs done efficiently and expeditiously. They are never in office or too busy to take calls.
We can no longer trust the mail since mails can be lost, damaged, or go to a wrong lot number. Worse yet, not many homes have a mail box and many residents work and are not at home. So why are the staff at GRO telling our citizens who have waited hours for their birth, marriage, and death certificates that ‘’You will get it in the mail’’? What makes it so hard to give it to them right there? It’s very sad that many people who have to sign these documents are never in the office or come to work extremely late or hardly ever work. I have been to several other offices in Guyana for documents, and have been told that the person who has to sign the document is not in the office, although that same person can be seen ‘gaffing’ around the compound but is still getting paid for a job they are incapable of doing.
I am not the only person who is faced with this problem; there are thousands of Guyanese experiencing the same thing because the lines for these documents are getting longer and longer every day, and some have to resort to bribery to obtain these certificates. This incompetence may never change because many get rich on these jobs by bribery.
Amerindians are given first preference to obtain birth certificates through the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, so why is it that Indians and Africans and others are given such a hard time? In particular, as a marriage officer I am faced with the long wait for marriage certificates. Just about two years ago when I married a couple, I would register the marriage and apply for the marriage certificate at the same time. I would be given a slip to obtain the marriage certificate in a week, which I would get. Now they have a new requirement that when I register a marriage I have to go downstairs and apply for the person’s marriage certificate or the person will have to make the application. Unfortunately, marriage officers like myself are blamed because the marriage certificate takes months to come. If I receive it, it is only after several applications have been made or I have gone back into the marriage section to query the situation. I believe marriage officers should be given preference in obtaining marriage certificates for marriages they perform. Citizens need their marriage certificates for immigration and embassies. Why this royal run around? It makes Marriage Officers most of whom are religious leaders looks like a fool to the people whose marriages we have performed.
It’s about time our new Minister of Citizenship looked into these issues. For Guyana to progress we must stop living in denial and correct our incompetence from day to day. I really don’t think our recent Jubilee Celebrations puts us on the contemporary road map of modern civilization.
Rev Gideon Cecil
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Reverend, I appreciate your concern but we are still doing everything by pen and paper. Two to three days is ideal. It takes a while to retrieve all those ledgers then extract the data then have the data verified and signed. This is a five day process.
The issue that the general registrar’s office is understaffed couples with staff frustration. In all countries there are cases where people pay for expedited service. The Registrar’ s office can offer this
I share you frustration but let us be problem solvers. Identify the issues and offer likely solutions.