Nov 15, 2017 News
Since Kaieteur News highlighted one man’s experience with the Guyana Consulate in Miami, a number of Guyanese living in that part of the United States have been coming forward to share their stories.
Harold Smith recently wrote a letter to this newspaper highlighting his brother, Junior’s, unsavory experience when attempting to carry out a transaction at the Miami Consulate.
Guyanese living in Florida have to travel to Miami in relation to passport renewals, affidavits and life certificates.
Yesterday, five other Guyanese residing in Florida contacted this newspaper. They shared supporting stories but spoke on the grounds of anonymity.
Two of the persons spoke about the unprofessional engagements. But those are the “lucky” ones who actually got a chance to engage with the two consulate representatives.
Others complained of travelling hours on different occasions to get to the consulate but were turned away by a closed door.
Junior Smith said that the female Consulate office representative told him he did not have to pay for his transaction.
However, another Florida-based Guyanese who spoke yesterday complained that she had been made to pay a different fee to renew her passport than her friend paid just a few weeks ago.
All those who contacted this newspaper spoke about the location of the consulate. As aptly described by Smith, the Consulate can be found in “the bowels of the ghetto.”
One lady spoke of how embarrassed she felt when a friend of hers who is not a Guyanese visited the Consulate to get a visa to visit Guyana.
“I was coming home for vacation and my workmate who has become my very close friend asked to make the trip with me. I used my GPS to guide me to the building. When I reached my destination I was totally convinced that the GPS guided me wrong. This was until I noticed the sign on the door.
“As the letter writer said, there was no sign of the Golden Arrowhead.”
The woman said that Guyana cannot possibly be serious about tourism if its consulate is located in a depressed community where many are scared to venture.
She also noted that that building will serve as an impression of Guyana. “What a terrible impression that is. We need a better image.”
When Kaieteur News spoke to Honorary Consul Ramzan Roshanali, he said that he receives absolutely no money from the Government of Guyana for his services or for rent. He said that the one worker is paid.
That one worker happens to be his wife.
Mr. Roshanali said that he has no idea how much his wife is paid. However, sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that while it is true that he is not paid specifically, the office is given a yearly lump sum to cover overhead expenses and for one employee.
In this case, Mr. Roshanali employed his wife.
He said that he does not know how much money his wife is receiving but he endeavoured to find out and provide that information.
Two days 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.
He said most of his day was consumed by his engagement in construction duties. He was supposed to again provide the information yesterday but never did.
Kaieteur News has also learnt that Mr. Roshanali benefitted in the past from duty free concession.
In April of this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a two-day Heads of Mission conference at the Pegasus.
This conference’s main objective was to address the role of diplomacy. Of course being the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge was the main speaker at the event. He used that opportunity to note that it is paramount to upkeep a good image in the world of diplomacy.
He implored upon the diplomats the need to always respect Guyana and paint the best image possible of the country.
The letter of concern which was published yesterday, was forwarded to Mr Greenidge’s email address.
The Foreign Ministry is aware of the situation in Miami.
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