Several Guyanese residing overseas, particularly in Miami, Florida, have been complaining about the poor services being offered at the honorary consulate in that district.
The most recent complaint has been lodged by Harold Smith.
Smith said in a letter in today’s issue of the Kaieteur News, that mediocre service has been offered for years. “It was so under the last regime and I guess nobody thought to complain because we all know how business was conducted then.”
He explained that Guyanese living in Florida, specifically all of Southeast and Southwest, must travel to Miami to conduct business with the Consulate in relation to passport renewals, affidavits and life certificates.
“But it seems that the Government of Guyana has not seen it fit to set up a formal Consulate and maintain an Honorary Consul who is disinterested in the job.”
Smith said that his brother recently sought the services of the consulate. He called, got no response; left messages and his number, but was never contacted.
Smith said that after hours of driving he arrived “in the bowels of the ghetto” where the consulate is located to be greeted by a closed office. He said that there was no sign indicating whether the closing was temporary as in “out to lunch”.
Smith said that because it is such a long drive from where his brother resides, the citizen decided to wait. “After a long while, a car pulled up and a female exited and walked over to the door. He inquired and she told him that she ran the office which he noted was a part of a furniture store…The address was disingenuously displayed on the façade of a furniture store, protected by iron gates, and void of any symbol/ flag designating the location as a consulate representing a country, and in this case, Guyana.
“The entry door read Guyana Consulate; no Golden Arrowhead. On the inside, there was no Guyana flag; yet an American flag was proudly displayed. “
Based on his encounter, Smith’s brother was of the opinion that the honorary consul was a
Smith’s brother recounted, “I spoke with the female honorary consul, and requested to be scheduled for an appointment the following week. The honorary consul bluntly stated that she “does not schedule” appointments, but the office is opened daily from 10am-4pm.
“I requested a business card, but was told that she does not have business cards. At no time during the exchange was I provided the honorary consul name/s. Hence, I refer to the honorary consul as she.”
On Sunday, this newspaper contacted Ramzan Roshanali who is supposed to be the Honorary Consul. The allegations were put to him. He vehemently denied that the services offered are beneath standards. He said it is must be “highly untrue” that “the young lady” would be anything but helpful and professional.
Roshanali said that the facility is open every weekday from 10:00am-4:00pm. He said that the only time the building is closed would be on weekends or holidays. Later in the conversation, he said that the office may be closed if errands need to be run.
Roshanali said that he receives absolutely no financial benefits from the Government of Guyana for the work that he does. Neither does he take a cent for the space in his building that is being utilised. “I receive absolutely no rent.”
He was asked about his staff and he said that the consulate was “fully staffed.”
He then explained that the only two people who operate at the facility are himself and a “young lady.”
However, he said that the “young lady” who works with him receives financial compensation.
The newspaper queried about the amount of money that is offered to the individual. Roshanali claimed ignorance. Roshanali said that he has no idea how much money is given to the worker. He said he doesn’t know how she is being paid.
He said, “I will find out from the young lady tomorrow.”
This newspaper found it strange that the honorary consul had no idea how much money is offered to the only other person operating in the honorary consulate office.
When this newspaper asked the name of the “young lady” Roshanali responded, “Her name is Churshid Roshanali. Questioned about his relations to the woman he previously referred to only as “the young lady”, the Honorary Consul said, “She is my wife, she is the boss.”
He said that he does not know how much money his wife is receiving and endeavoured to find out and feed the newspaper with that information.
One day passed and contact was made again with Mr Roshanali who told this publication that he hadn’t the chance to find out from his wife how much she receives, as most of his day was consumed by his engagement in construction duties.
When Roshanali spoke to this newspaper on Sunday, he said that he devotes much time and resources to the effective running of the consulate.
He said, “If I have to go to Orlando, I use my own car and everything. I go out of my way to please Guyanese. I have been doing this for 14 years and I do it for the love.”
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