Are the authorities in Guyana obligated to provide authentication of these claims?

Dear Editor,

I refer to a recent letter captioned “I wrote authorities in Guyana asking them to verify documents for clients who were seeking asylum, they did not reply” (07.10.23).

The writer, who describes himself as “counsel for..clients who are claiming refugee status in Canada”, describes this lack of alleged co-operation on the part of authorities in Guyana as displaying a “negative attitude, lack of responsibility and bad manners”.

I would like to ask this counsel a hypothetical question. If authorities in Guyana have not provided him with authentication of documents, how is it that he was able to get a successful outcome to the recent, much publicised case, of the Guyanese family being granted “asylum”? Answer: his deposition on behalf of the family was apparently based on personal “claims ” (to use a word which he himself uses), or in legal terminology allegations (that they were running away from alleged drug dealers in Guyana and had received no protection from Guyanese authorities).

Contrary to what the Stabroek News reporter in an earlier news story (“PPP urges Canada to stop exporting criminals, 20 October 2007) wrote, there were no “facts” in this case as it pertains to arguments before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. It was simply subjective personal arguments as articulated and submitted by said counsel.There was no hard evidence such as authenticated testimony in a court case which said counsel has now admitted was unobtainable, though in fairness he may have been referring to other cases.

Are authorities in Guyana, or anywhere else worldwide, obligated to provide authentication on such things as frivolous claims to a refugee board overseas, which, if successful, will be used to besmirch Guyana’s good reputation ? Haven’t they got more important tasks ?

What said counsel convienently forgets to tell your readers -and I am not saying he is guilty of this-is how so called “immigraton lawyers” and “Certified Immigration Consultants” prey on the fears of newly arrived people in Canada and the USA. Check the ethnic newspapers to which he refers. I do. In Toronto some of them have two pages full of advertisements from these essentially parasitical elements, though clearly there are professionals who provide useful services. Some of their ads openly boast they give advice on “seeking asylum”. One ad shamelessly describes the “escaping of the wrath of Guyana”. I am told the “seeking asylum” tactic is resorted to after all other approaches to get residency have failed. Some of these elements were themselves born and raised in Guyana, benefitting from the administration’s programmes they now publicly criticise. They besmirch the country’s character.

Have they no shame ! Look at how the misguided and wilful have tried to use the particular case of the family alleging not getting protection to bring down the good reputation of Guyana at home and overseas.

Guyana government missions, even such as the Honorary Consulate in Barbados where there is a tout for an overseas “immigration consultant”, continue to have difficulties with these predators of all types. The significant fact is that there is no guarantee of the outcome of a claim. Hence, disgruntled Guyanese who have paid over considerable sums of money, sometimes resort to the missions seeking redress. Looking into these matters takes time and resources which can be put to better use.

Canada has had to introduce the Certification of those providing immigration services, though difficulties remain.

Type in “asylum immigration lawyers consultants” in a search engine such as Google and you will find stories of US and Canadian authorities cautioning the public about them and reference to lawyers being disbarred and consultants fined and jailed.

Said counsel’s red herrings and irrevelancies about Minister of Home Affairs Rohee’s response and Canada’s alleged better democratic institutions than Guyana are not worth replying to.

Yours faithfully,

Norman Faria

Guyana’s Honorary Consul

in Barbados

Editor’s note

It would seem reasonable to seek authentication of the fact that the claimant had reported to the police the approach to the manager to ship drugs and his report of the subsequent threats he received.

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