Guyana Consulate extends outreach program

Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States, Bayney Karran praised the staff of the New York Consulate for its third successful outreach initiative during an observation visit in the Bronx, on March 19.

Thanks to Rick Chetram, proprietor of Kaieteur Restaurant on White Plains Road, expatriates were welcomed at the five-hour service center where more than 100 applicants applied for passports, birth certificates and other legal documents.

The diplomat, who travelled from Washington DC, assured nationals that the consulate was not only improving its services to meet their needs, but getting to know them, (nationals) on both a personal and professional level.

“The Guyanese community in New York is very extensive, and life in the United States is very demanding in terms of time and transit, so in order to access services, citizens would encounter some kind of difficulty in getting to the location to receive the consular services they need,” said Karran, adding that some may be incapacitated or physically unable to travel.

“This is an effort to bring out services to Guyanese communities on the basis of need.

“We can already see from the response and turnout of persons that were served today, that the service is needed, and appreciated by the community. It also demonstrates that the consulate is performing its functions and making its services as accessible as possible.”

Karran added that the initiative raises the profile of the consulate and he hopes that the community is satisfied with the services that are being offered.

“It is also important that the consular staff interact with the community in a more engaging manner. It gives the consulate an opportunity to get a better feedback on what they are doing right, and what can be improved, while they get to know the various areas in which Guyanese live. It is a win, all around,” said Karran, who was recently named the new ambassador to China by the Coalition government.

Deputy Consul General Jacquelyn Hamer in turn said she was quite heartened by the response the outreach received and credits flyer distribution, newspaper advertisement and social media, that helped to reach citizens in the borough.

“We provided the services that we offer in our Manhattan office. We have also made our waiting area comfortable and created an integrated database system for efficiency,” said Hamer.

A new and improved user friendly website will be up and running next month so Guyanese could determine the status of their documents. They will also be kept abreast with what is taking place at the diplomatic office, that host cultural events and educational programs.

“We are making lots of improvement to ensure our Guyanese people are satisfied with the services that are being offered,” said Hamer who has confirmed that members of the consulate will travel to Schenectady, New York, for its fourth outreach initiative, before traveling to New Jersey.

She is currently doing a survey to decide whether the consulate would travel to Tampa and Orlando, Florida, where Guyanese there have called on the diplomatic office to provide them with the same service.

However, the diplomat said a survey would have to be made to see how feasible it is to provide the services in the sunshine state.

Meanwhile, she is urging persons to collect their unclaimed travel documents by the March 30 deadline. A $35.00 fee will be incurred for every month a passport is stored at the consulate.

She said she would work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana to see how best the deadline could be extended to facilitate passport holders who would like to claim their document.

Hamer is also calling on passport owners who applied for the document in 2011 to reapply for new ones because those will expire this year.

According to Hammer calls to the consulate would be answered, since the telephone system was upgraded after complaints were lodged about the poor service. In addition, debit and credit cards are being accepted to transact business.

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