Overseas Guyanese face unnecessary hassle over authenticating of local driver’s licence

Dear Editor,

Having penned an article recently about the failure of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to update its website about the issuance of new drivers’ licences in the form of cards, I was temporarily dumbstruck to discover that the GRA has compounded its ineptitude.

I received a letter from my Guyanese friend overseas addressed to the Commissioner General, Mr. Godfrey Statia, requesting that his office supply her with any corroborating evidence held in their records to verify the authenticity of her licence and to state that Guyana now uses the type of licence in her possession and  not the red booklet which the website has as being the current licence. My friend sent a copy of her licence and a copy of her United States’s green card to indicate the validity and necessity of her request. She also attached an authorisation for me to uplift any documentation from the GRA intended to assist her in the matter.

I was appalled that a manager at the GRA was able to print a letter which was obviously already prepared and saved in the computer which had my friend’s name, date of birth, nationality, eye colour, height, address, tin number, driver’s licence number, the date it was issued and due to expire, the classes of vehicles covered to drive and when the licence was first issued. She then gave me a slip of paper with some details which she asked me to take to the cashier, along with $2000. I expressed my surprise by telling her that it seemed that my friend’s case was not the first of its kind for the GRA and she said that it was not.

So, instead of the GRA updating its website to eliminate this long procedure and inconvenience to holders of Guyanese drivers’ licences who have migrated, they prefer to capitalise on this by taking $2000 for each letter issued by them corroborating the authenticity of the new licences. We citizens are pursued and charged by them when we do not do our civic duty of paying income and other taxes and we are then deemed to be socially irresponsible, insensitive and even criminal.

My friend now has to take this letter from the GRA to the Guyanese embassy in the United States for it to be stamped and then she has to take it to the Motor Vehicles Administration. More inconvenience and expense. It is also an additional, unproductive task for the staff at the primary body representing our country there. It is also surprising that the Embassy’s officials have not intervened to rectify this ridiculous and embarrassing situation.

Yours faithfully,

Conrad Barrow

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