I would like to respond to Mr Norman Faria, Guyana’s Honorary Consul in Barbados, who penned the letter, “Are the authorities in Guyana obligated to provide authentication of these claims?”, (07.10.26).
First of all, the direct answer to the question asked is no! But basic commonsense, guided by diplomatic and democratic principles, says the least that the Guyana authorities could have done in this case was to respond, even if to say they had no such information or will get back to the requesting parties.
Instead, whatever the Guyana authorities did apparently did not amount to a response, causing counsel for the family, Mr Balwant Persaud, to describe the Guyana authorities as displaying a “negative attitude, lack of responsibility and bad manners.” Question: Did the Canadian authorities share Mr Persaud’s interpretation, hence the final decision to grant the asylum? Remember, the burden of proof rested with counsel and the family to make a compelling case, and apparently they did even without a response from Guyana. In fact, maybe the lack of a response was more damning than any actual response.
Second, despite attaching his official ‘honorary’ title to his signature in the letter, I am of the impression Mr Faria wrote the letter in a private capacity, as opposed to being an authorized government spokesman or representative on the matter. Question: Was his use of his ‘honorary’ title a veiled attempt to make his arguments appear to have an air of authority?
His letter manifests a lack of connection with what is happening at the grassroots level in Guyana where people confront street crimes and drug gangs up close and personal.
Third, Mr Faria, in his ‘honorary’ capacity as Guyana Consul in Barbados, took issue with the family, perhaps representative of others who sought and won asylum or refugee status overseas, for besmirching the good name of Guyana. He wrote: “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.”
Maybe he is right. Maybe he is wrong. But is it not only fair for each case to be treated on an individual basis, rather than use a broad paint brush to paint seekers into a corner?
I don’t know how long ago Mr. Faria left Guyana, or how long he has been living in Barbados, but this asylum or refugee issue has been happening since the days of Burnham’s PNC, when thousands of Guyanaese – especially of Indian extraction – flocked to Canada, America and Britain, which received them with open arms.
But back then we never heard from the PPP or any of its apologists criticizing those (Indian) Guyanese fleeing ‘the wrath of Burnhamism’. Suddenly, because it is the PPP in power, and the family involved in this instance is of Indian extraction, it doesn’t look good, so the PPP, the government and their apologists are crawling out of the woodwork crying foul. Give me a break! Please!
Mr Faria needs to know that if Guyanese, regardless of race, are benefiting from the PPP regime’s programmes, including getting protection from dangerous criminals and drug-related gangs, they likely won’t be running from Guyana for those very reasons.
Finally, since Mr Faria seems to have access to foreign papers, was he abreast of news from Guyana about dangerous criminal elements that attacked, beat, robbed, burned, and killed Indian Guyanese while the PPP regime adopted a ‘Nero-fiddled-while-Rome-burned’ stance?
Is he aware that, instead of de-politicizing the police force through reforms and professional training programmes, a cabinet minister and his acting top cop resorted to working hand-in-glove with an alleged drug baron to operate a Phantom Squad that performed extra judicial killings? Is he aware of the fact that Guyana is a major transshipment point for narcotics, thereby allowing ill-gotten gains from the narcotics industry to be laundered into front businesses in the country, right under the nose of government and police?
This man who proudly wears his ‘honorary’ title needs to be reminded that no sane, responsible and caring Guyanese, regardless of race, would ever seek to bring down the reputation of his or her home country. Yes, we have a right to castigate and criticize the inept PPP regime, which Mr Faria represents in Barbados, but that should not be translated into castigation and criticism of Guyana, the country, or Guyanese, the people.
Last time I checked, Guyana belongs to Guyanese, not a political party or its representatives anywhere.