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‘Big Enchiladas’ at City Hall show pattern of greed, foolishness and disregard for the…

first_imgDear Editor,The recent disclosure in the press of an attempt by officials of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown to illegally lease or sell reserved community lands in Bel Air Park to a private developer is yet another illustration of the level of venality, delinquency and ineptitude at City Hall.With the full knowledge that there is a restriction on the transport of this property, located contiguous to Eping Avenue, for use as community purposes only, it is just unthinkable that municipal officials would even consider building town houses there.However, the intention to confiscate and build housing on this  three-acre empty community reserve — known as R3 Bel Air Park — for the ‘Big Enchiladas’ at City Hall fits right into the pattern of greed, foolishness, and disregard for the law by some of these officials at the Council.It fits right into their current programme of living ‘a champagne and caviar’ lifestyle off of the backs of the poor citizens of Georgetown.Already, they fly first class all around the world, and stay at five star hotels. Already, they have surrounded themselves with chauffeurs, bodyguards, other security, and a retinue of assistants. Already, they have had the Council provide for them luxury sports utility vehicles, dine at fancy restaurants, and pay themselves super salaries. Now they want to complement that with luxury accommodations in an upscale neighbourhood.Even more disgusting than their inclination to break the law by voting at a council meeting to take community land for personal housing — despite the existence of the covenant and despite the obvious conflict — is their patent display of unrepressed greed. Some of these officials are owners of multiple properties which they recently acquired with their new-found wealth, and yet they are still trying to acquire more real estate. It is just so sordid.What has happened to their much touted ‘Green City’ initiative? Or will they paint these townhouses green?It should be noted that they have already confiscated other reserves in the south of the city, and constructed two model houses for other municipal officers, a situation that should also be challenged in the courts.When will there be a Commission of Inquiry at City Hall?Sincerely,Magagula Jacksonlast_img read more

Guyana to get modernised electronic visa system

first_imgIn an effort to clamp down on fraudulent migration, the European Union (EU) will be collaborating with the Citizenship Ministry to set up an electronic visa system for travellers entering Guyana.Citizenship Minister Winston FelixEU Ambassador to Guyana, Jernej VidetičCitizenship Ministry, Winston Felix, received the policy recommendations and guidelines for establishing an Electronic Visa (E-Visa) and work visa system. This is expected to aid in the implementation and development of a modernised visa issuance system.It comes almost two years after seeking assistance for policy guidelines on its establishment. Minister Felix explained that Guyana’s visa application process saw immigration officers using a rubber stamp.This process, he noted, was the same since independence. He pointed to cases being reported by immigration officers of foreigners presenting their passports with bogus Guyana stamps.“How long must we contend with a situation in which our immigration system is easily defrauded? And once we recognise fraud in a legitimate system it is our duty to ensure that we protect it.”“I am happy to receive it because it would be the source for correcting many issues associated with our visa system currently in operation. The world is changing, but the migration policy in Guyana has not changed.”“We have had our immigration laws and visa facilities available since we became independent, with very little change to it. But in this changing world, which sees human trafficking, transnational crime, irregular migration patterns, we in Guyana are now seeking to harden the soft parts of our immigration system.”EU Ambassador to Guyana, Jernej Videtič, personally handed over the report to Citizen Minister Felix. He noted the European Union’s commitment to improving the visa system which is slated to reduce fraudulent practices in the migration process.“Guyana’s economy will benefit from a system which makes tourism more attractive and provides more transparency for foreign investment and a genuine need for foreign labour. Safety and security will be enhanced through a well-managed, easily traceable system, which prevents the unregulated inflow of non-citizens. It will also bring social, educational and cultural benefits and meet humanitarian objectives,” Videtič said.The report was compiled by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The work on it began after a request from Guyana to the African, Caribbean-European Union (ACP-EU) Migration Action Programme in June 2015 for technical assistance, in order to improve the local visa processing and issuance system, as well as immigration services.Meanwhile, IOM’s Regional Coordination Officer for the Caribbean, Robert Natiello reiterated the organisation’s commitment to regular and orderly migration and the need to coalesce efforts to improve the process for migrants.“The process of emitting visas is an important part of ensuring the regular and orderly migration process. When we have irregular migration processes, we have seen that this opens up migrants to many vulnerable situations and they can fall into situations of human rights violations, Trafficking In Persons and smuggling of migrants. So we are pleased to be able to provide technical assistance for this type of work,” Natiello said.Also present at the event were Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Karen Cummings and Business Minister Dominic Gaskin.last_img read more