Problems to get ID card
Guyana Chronicle
April 1, 2002

Related Links: Letters on the daily grind
Letters Menu Archival Menu

I took some time off work last week Thursday to travel to my homeland to obtain or start the process of obtaining a new ID card. The reason being that on my last visit to the USA, I had a difficulty at the Bank to get my traveller's cheques changed. The teller told me that they could not accept the 'old' ID card since they were aware that Guyanese have entered the same bank to transact business with a ‘new’ and different looking ID card than the one that I presented to her.

I was however, able to convince her that since I do not reside in Guyana, I shall make it my duty to get a new one on my next visit there. So the story is that I arrived in my homeland last Thursday and ventured early in the morning to the National Registration Centre in Kingston only to be told that if I did not register for the last elections, then I could not get a new one and I would have to speak to the Minister of Home Affairs in order to obtain one.

I have worked with the same Ministry for more than five years prior to migrating in order to attend university and have since decided to work in the region. I went to the Ministry of Home Affairs seeking to get some kind of help because I am traveling to the US very soon and do not want to encounter the same problem, of course, I have the option of using my passport but I prefer to use my ID card.

The Minister's secretary informed me that he only sees the public on Wednesdays although I explained to her that I was only there for one working day that being Friday 22nd. I then sought the Permanent Secretary upon her advice. However, to make a long story short after waiting for about 25 minutes I was told by the PS's secretary that she could not see me and I was sent to another officer who told me that what I wanted had to be dealt with by the PS or the Minister. I have since concluded that the PS did not want to speak to me after I made several attempts on the telephone to reach her but she spoke with a good friend of mine who is a reporter concerning the matter.

I do not understand and I am absolutely disgusted with the response that I got from the authorities in my own country of birth. It was most disheartening to know that something as simple as obtaining an ID card had become a 'political issue' and one can no longer travel home and obtain an ID card until there is an election. I have never heard such piffle and as one of my lecturers would say 'that is the epitome of nonsense'.

I got so angry that it was the first time in a decade since traveling home that I called the airline and took the first available flight back to my destination with a 'bitter taste' for the situation and the politics in my country.

It is a situation that I have since instructed my secretary to have us follow up with the Minister of Home Affairs. Could it really be true that someone cannot obtain a new ID card until there is another election? Is this the kind of thing that is occurring in the year 2002 in my homeland?

I trust that I get some response from the Government when I do write to them concerning this matter.
Samuel Legay