1400 unclaimed passports at Guyana Consulate

Consulate staff Desarie Theobold hands over a new Guyana passport to Mr. Ramdat Nandkisore, next to Deputy Consul General Jacquelyn Hamer, affiliate of the consulate, VP of JA Maxwell Global Corporation Canada, Suzanna Nichols and staff, Aquafie Munroe.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Deputy Consul-General of Guyana to New York, Mrs. Jacquelyn Hamer is calling on Guyanese who have not collected their passports dating back to 2009, to contact the consulate’s 308 W 38th Street New York city location, urgently, during the hours of 9 am to 3 pm, Monday to Friday.

Hamer, who expressed her thanks to this publication for the opportunity to share information with the Guyanese community, said that the 1400 readable passports, and original passports that are expired, must be presented by owners in order to receive an updated one for foreign travel and immigration purposes.

“Even though these passports are expired, citizens will still need them as proof of identification for a new one. This could be done by coming into the consulate, by requesting information via email to guyanaconsulate@hotmail.com, or by calling our office at (212-947-5113),” said Hamer.

The DCG, who handed over passports on Dec. 12, five weeks after the consulate’s first outreach program on Nov. 7 in Ozone Park, Queens, reminded undocumented citizens not to wait until their immigration status is about to change before applying for a passport.

She also assured citizens fearful that their information would be shared with immigration that the Guyana consulate has no affiliation with the USCIS, and as such, will only process passport requests.

“We are targeting the large undocumented Guyanese population, many of whom the passports belong to,” said Hamer, who since taking office in September has been working diligently with staff to process life certificates, powers of attorney, birth certificates and other documents.

“What we have found, and which could be related to the unclaimed passports also, is that citizens have been applying for emergency documents to travel to Guyana with the promise that they would uplift a passport while in Georgetown.”

“But we feel many are abusing this service said Hamer of the passports that are processed in Guyana, and valid for five years.

She claimed that many apply for the emergency document a month ahead of travel and then proceed on a vacation cruise.

The diplomat reiterated that emergency, means emergency and said the consulate is looking at a system that would limit the amount of emergency documents issued, unless valid proof is shown that the certificate is absolutely necessary.

The success of the outreach program that handled hundreds of documents in the Queens and Brooklyn, areas, will move to the Bronx, Connecticut and Schenectady, in 2016.

Beverley McDonald, who brings a wealth of experience from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in welfare and protocol, will oversee the passport outreach program that will lead to a database, and a new website to allow the consulate to run more efficiently.

Guyanese throughout New York State will be able to register their business or organization online to create a linkage with the consulate.

In addition, applicants will receive electronic notification of expiring passports, and a pick-up due date.

The Guyana Foreign Ministry has also appointed Mr. ILan Cohn of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to conduct a Jan. 16 – 18, 2016 conference at the consulate.

The weekend seminar, will liaison with Guyanese organizations and individuals from religious, political, alumni and medical associations, to keep the Diaspora engaged and informed.

A 50th Independence Anniversary program is being planned and will be held in May 2016. An exposition of Guyanese’s product, culture and cuisine will be on tap, said Hamer.

A wide-cross section of the community is also calling for the diplomat to be appointed to the post of consul-general.

More information could be found on the consulate’s website at www.guyanaconsulatenewyork.com.

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